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 and 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 12 partners and over 45 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 the management of the Corialis group on its re-investment in the buy-out backed by CVC. This was without a doubt one of the biggest Belgian transactions of 2016/17
  • Advising the key shareholders of AB InBev on the financing, tax and deal structuring aspects of its acquisition of SABMiller, which included the largest acquisition facility and the second-largest bond issue to date
  • Advising Eneco on its acquisition of Eni Gas & Power. This made Eneco the third-largest energy supplier in Belgium, after Engie and EDF Luminus
  • Advising Union Investment on the €93 million sale of the Corporate Village portfolio, consisting of five prime office buildings located in Zaventem, Brussels
  • 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 Eandis on its €200 million retail bond issue

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 give clients practical, comprehensive advice that covers all jurisdictions in which they have business interests.

We provide clients with 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 on 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 the 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 clear 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."

Recent highlights

Awards and milestones

  • Belgian Law Firm of the Year
    IFLR Europe Awards 2016
  • Merger Control Matter of the Year
    Global Competition Review 2016
  • M&A Deal of the Year
    IFLR Europe Awards 2016

Directory listings and client comments

Directoy listings

IFLR 1000 2017

  • Tier One in Banking and Finance in Belgium

Chambers Europe 2017

  • Tier One in Banking & Finance in Belgium 
  • Tier One in Real Estate in Belgium

Legal 500 EMEA 2017

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

 Client comments

  • "The Belgian practice of one of London's top firms is well-placed in the market. It is able to combine strong local talent with a high-quality network of teams around the world, helping to secure some of the most significant mandates in the Belgian market."
    IFLR 1000 2017 – Belgium
  • "The firm's very good understanding of cross-border issues and ability to give to-the-point advice are impressive."
    Chambers Europe 2017 – Belgium
  • "Clifford Chance comes up with creative solutions for complex problems."
    Legal 500 EMEA 2017 – Belgium
  • "Clifford Chance's team gives 'to the point' advice to borrowers and lenders alike."
    Legal 500 EMEA 2017 – Belgium
  • "The team was always proactive and responsive. The lawyers were transparent, direct and tried to find quick solutions that weren't complicated."
    Chambers Europe 2017 – Belgium
  • "I appreciate the team's solution-oriented approach. They are very pragmatic and always take the time to answer my queries."
    Chambers Europe 2017 – Belgium
  • "The lawyers throughout the team are good and reliable."
    Chambers Europe 2017 – Belgium
  • "An excellent team which is very committed and focused on finding solutions. They provided all-round services in a very condensed timeframe."
    Chambers Europe 2017 – Belgium
  • "Clifford Chance's full-service capabilities make it a strong choice for Belgian and international clients in contentious and non-contentious matters."
  • Legal 500 EMEA 2017 – Belgium
  • "One of the firm's key strengths is its deep knowledge and experience of the energy sector."
    Chambers Europe 2017 – Belgium
  • "The firm is very well-known for its real estate tax works."
    Chambers Europe 2017 – Belgium
  • "Clifford Chance is very familiar with the developments of international tax law."
    Legal 500 EMEA 2017 – Belgium

 

CNN International taks with Thomas Vinje

Thomas Vinje, Partner and Chairman of our Global Antitrust Group, is interviewed on CNN about the significance of the record fine and the Commission's requirement for Google to change its search business practices.