In 2019 Walder Wyss is the first law firm per number of deals in Switzerland. According to Mergermarket’s Leauge Tables, it acted as legal advisor in 33 deals, eight less compared to the previous year (2018), but still above the 29, advised by Csm, which is ranked second, and the 28 of Bär & Karrer. But this Swiss law firm is not behind in terms of operations’ value: in this case it is the first-ranked with a huge increase (+ 992%) compared to 2018. So, it does not come as a surprise if Walder Wyss assisted Galderma and Bär & Karrer served Novartis. These two deals represent the two major transactions in Europe which involved Switzerland last year.
A great achievement for Switzerland despite a general negative trend: the number of deals of at least Usd 10 billion in Europe hit the lowest number since 2009, but two out the top five major deal are in Switzerland. It is interesting to notice that both deals concern the pharma, medical and biotech sector. In details, on 28th February 2019, Novartis shareholders had approved the proposed 100% spin-off of the Alcon eye care division. Bär & Karrer has acted as Swiss legal advisor to Novartis and Alcon in the planning and implementation of this transaction for a total value of 26,9 Usd billion. The team was led by Rolf Watter, Urs Kägi, Thomas U. Reutter and Susanne Schreiber.
The second deal saw a consortium led by EQT Partners and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority entering, on 16th May 2019, into exclusive negotiations to acquire Nestlé Skin Health from Nestlé for an enterprise value of Chf 10.2 billion. Founded in 1981 as Galderma and operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Nestlé since 2014, Nestlé Skin Health is a skincare company offering a range of medical and consumer skin health solutions. Walder Wyss served as Swiss legal advisor to Galderma. The partner in the team included Alexander Nikitine, Francis Nordmann, Ueli Sommer and Maurus Winzap.
The other players
Kirkland & Ellis International acted as legal advisor to EQT Partners in the same deal. However, the law firm Swiss transition register a value’s drop in 2019. The firm is ranked seventh, whereas in 2018 it was second. Still analyzing the value, it is possible to notice a good results of Latham & Watkins that reached the third position (it was ranked 30 in 2018) and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & co that enter the top ten, not having physical headquarters in Switzerland.
As for number of deals, Baker McKenzie is the international law firm to have lost the major number of deals compared to 2018 (12 less). Concerning the Swiss law firms, apart from Walder Wyss and Bär & Karrer, other two are in the top ten. It’s the case of Lenz & Staehlin with 21 deals in 2019 (four more than 2018) and Hombuger with 16 deals (three less than 2018). These firms are respectively ranked fifth and seventh in Mergermarket table by deal count.