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June 1, 2011 5:31 PM

Four Firms Take Lead on Lenovo's Move Into European Market

Posted by Brian Baxter

Lenovo, the Chinese computer giant, has made an offer for Medion valuing the German computer and electronics retailer at $909 million.

Bloomberg reports that the deal is the largest by Lenovo since its $1.75 billion acquisition of IBM's personal computer business six years ago. Hong Kong-based Lenovo is now the largest manufacturer of personal computers in China.

Four international law firms have now taken lead advisory roles as Lenovo seeks to bolster its profile in Europe by taking over Medion, according to German legal publication Juve.

Juve reports that Alexander Schröder-Frerkes, managing partner of the German offices of British firm Bird & Bird in Düsseldorf, is advising Lenovo on the deal, along with Latham & Watkins antitrust partner Georg Weidenbach in Frankfurt, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton corporate partner Freeman Chan in Hong Kong.

Latham previously represented IBM on CFIUS issues tied to the sale of its personal computer division to Lenovo, while Cleary also handled work related to the Chinese company's acquisition of the former IBM unit several years ago.

Former Howrey partner Michael O'Neill serves as general counsel of Lenovo, having been appointed to the position in July 2007. Juve reports that deputy general counsel John Leshinski has taken the lead handling matters in-house for Lenovo on the Medion deal.

Bernd Wirbel, an M&A partner at German firm Hengeler Mueller in Düsseldorf, is advising Medion and its CEO, founder, and majority owner Gerd Brachmann on the offer by Lenovo. Brachmann has agreed to sell two-thirds of his 60 percent stake in Essen-based Medion, according to The New York Times. Attorney Rudolf Stuetzle serves as the chairman of Medion's supervisory board.

By acquiring Medion, Lenovo would become the third-largest player in the German computer market after competitors Acer and Hewlett-Packard. The Financial Times reports that Lenovo is already the world's fourth-largest vendor for personal computers after HP, Dell, and Acer.

Both Medion and Lenovo expect that their merger will close by third quarter of 2011.

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