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Clifford Chance

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Belgium

We are a market-leading firm in Belgium. Our reputation is built on high-profile work in the Belgian market, multi-jurisdiction transactions, antitrust and regulatory matters.

Domestic strength and international know-how

Our Belgian track record goes back to 1968, and today there are 11 partners and over 40 lawyers in our full-service Brussels office. We work with clients on a range of complex questions and have particular expertise in cross-border M&A, private equity, banking, finance and capital markets.

Our work regularly makes Belgian headlines, with recent examples including:

  • Advising Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht and its shareholders on the sale of the club to Belgian entrepreneur Marc Coucke
  • Advising the Belgian State on the elaboration, structuring and implementation of a potential scheme to compensate private shareholders of the ARCO companies
  • Advising Eneco on its acquisition of Eni Gas & Power, which made Eneco the third-largest energy supplier in Belgium
  • Advising Nikon Metrology on the sale of its CMM (Coordinate Measuring Machines) business to ASF Metrology through a sale of assets in five jurisdictions
  • Advising Gfi Informatique on its public takeover bid on Realdolmen, including tax structuring
  • Advising AIMCo on the purchase (including tax aspects) of 100% of the shares of the company owning the Docks Bruxsel shopping centre
  • Advising KanAm Grund on the sale (including tax aspects) of 100% of the shares in KanAm Grund Square de Meeus, owner of the Square de Meeus building in Brussels, which is fully occupied by the European Parliament pursuant to a usufruct agreement
  • Advising Allianz on the sale of the entire Place de Brouckère Allianz site to BPI-Immobel and UGC, and on the acquisition of the new Allianz tower
  • Advising the creditors on the restructuring, the €43 million recapitalisation, and the €380 million refinancing of listed cooling tower and air treatment group Hamon
  • Advising Econocom on its €200 million convertible bond issue
  • Advising the underwriters in relation to the secondary offering by Cofinimmo of new shares including a public offering in Belgium with priority allocation rights for the existing shareholders
  • Advising the key shareholders of AB InBev on the financing, tax and deal structuring aspects of its acquisition of SABMiller

The high-calibre work of our talented lawyers on these and other key transactions has been recognised by consistent top-tier rankings by legal directories (Chambers, Legal 500, IFLR, Who's Who Legal).

Experts in antitrust, state-aid and regulatory matters

Our practice group specialising in merger control, behavioural antitrust, state aid and regulatory matters is the go-to team for high-profile, bet-the-company antitrust work in Brussels. We have excellent relationships with the key EU institutions and in-depth knowledge of the technical and practical aspects of the relevant EU laws, which allows us to provide our clients with practical, comprehensive advice that covers all jurisdictions in which they have business interests.

We give clients industry-focused insights and tailored advice across a wide range of sectors, but we are particularly well-known for our track record and expertise in information technology, pharmaceuticals and industrials.

Recent examples of our work include:

  • Representing FairSearch, an industry coalition that is the main complainant in the EU's Google Android investigation and a leading intervener in the EU's Google Search case, as their external counsel before the European Commission. The EU's investigations into Google's abusive practices are among the most significant antitrust cases in recent years
  • Advising GE in relation to its merger with Baker Hughes, involving approximately 20 merger filings across the world, and in relation to its €3.2 billion sale of GE Water and Process Technologies to Suez
  • Advising a number of pharmaceutical clients in the context of investigations by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). For example, we are advising Zoetis and Xellia Pharmaceuticals in their appeal against the CMA's infringement decision in relation to the reverse patent settlement of GSK with a generic company called Alpharma, the so-called 'pay for delay' case. We are also advising Pfizer on its defence in a high-profile excessive pricing investigation by the CMA and in its appeal against the CMA's infringement decision
  • Advising KONE on the landmark damages claim brought by the EU before the Brussels Commercial Court against KONE and three other lift manufacturers in relation to a cartel infringement, established pursuant to a decision of the EU Commission
  • Representing OPAP before the EU General Court in an appeal by several casinos against the European Commission's decision to approve the extension of OPAP's exclusive rights in games of chance and the licence for 35,000 video lottery terminals

Clients value our approach as much as our capabilities

We combine the flexibility of a close-knit domestic team with the sophisticated resources of an international firm. We are well-used to building cross-practice teams of lawyers from our 23-country network, and our clients’ comments suggest that they like our way of working just as much as the work we deliver:

  • "I was impressed and amazed. The Clifford Chance lawyers have a lot of expertise and are available. They work to short deadlines and deliver quality quickly."
  • "They do a terrific job. They know us very well, they get very close to the client. We find them very business-focused and friendly."
  • "The lawyers are brilliant. It is their depth of understanding of what is going on in the real economy that makes them such an asset."
  • "Magical."

Directory listings and client comments

Directory listings

IFLR 1000 2018

  • Tier 1 in Banking and Finance in Belgium
  • Tier 1 in Capital Markets in Belgium

Chambers Europe 2018

  • Band 1 in Banking & Finance in Belgium 
  • Band 1 in Real Estate in Belgium

Legal 500 EMEA 2018

  • Tier 1 in Banking, Finance & Capital Markets in Belgium
  • Tier 1 in EU Regulatory: Financial Services in Belgium
  • Tier 1 in Real Estate in Belgium

 Client comments

  • "A very pleasant and knowledgeable firm. An extremely efficient organisation that has a good age pyramid and very skilled lawyers (legal and soft skills) who are pleasant to work with and have excellent industry knowledge. They always go the extra mile"
    IFLR 1000 2018 – Belgium
  • "Clifford Chance has become a true partner of our group. They are extremely professional, always to the point and transparent and straightforward in each communication. They have guided us in many complex matters, national and internationally."
    IFLR 1000 2018 – Belgium
  • "Among the very best in the kingdom."
    IFLR1000 2018 – Belgium
  • "Their international reach is very, very good. I've never experienced any jurisdiction – even the most exotic locations – where they cannot find the answers."
    Chambers Europe 2018 – Belgium
  • "We particularly appreciate the pragmatism displayed by the lawyers. The team is extremely responsive, practical and really helped on the strategic side. They provide strategic advice in terms of how to get deals done."
    Chambers Europe 2018 – Belgium
  • "They are exceeding expectations across the board."
    Chambers Europe 2018 – Belgium 
  • "Clifford Chance's highly responsive and knowledgeable team provides a service that is second-to-none."
    Legal 500 EMEA 2018 – Belgium
  • "The superb lawyers and business partners at Clifford Chance score highly for their deep understanding of the related business, legal, political and economic context."
    Legal 500 EMEA 2018 – Belgium
  • "A top player in the Belgian market, Clifford Chance is very quick on the ball and is noted for its capacity to handle and coordinate a variety of legal issues and have them converged into an appropriate solution."
    Legal 500 EMEA 2018 – Belgium