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Latham advises Morpheus Space in its series seed funding round

Morpheus Space has announced the closing of its first private funding round, led by Vsquared Ventures. Others in the round include Lavrock Ventures, Airbus Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Pallas Ventures and Techstars.

The space tech start-up was founded in 2018 as a spin-off from the chair of space systems of Technical University of Dresden. The company has created the ground-breaking Spacecraft Electric Propulsion Systems, NanoFEEP, which is the smallest and most efficient satellite propulsion system that provides in-orbit mobility for the widest range of satellite sizes.

“We are proud to have had Latham’s support on this milestone transaction for Morpheus,” said Daniel Bock, Co-Founder and CEO. “For every legal discipline we needed in the U.S. and Germany, they provided an almost instantaneous solution to help make this cutting edge tech transaction an intercontinental success.”

Latham & Watkins LLP represents Morpheus Space in the transaction. The emerging companies team was led by Los Angeles associate David Pendergast, with assistance from Los Angeles associate Zach Gray. The German corporate team was led by Hamburg partner Christoph Engeler, with associate Daniel Kreutzmann. Advice was also provide on intellectual property matters by Frankfurt partner Susan Kempe-Mueller and Los Angeles partner Ghaith Mahmood; on employment matters by Munich associate Kristina Steckermeier; on German public R&D grant matters by Frankfurt associate Alexander Wilhelm; and on regulatory matters by Hamburg associate Niklas Bruggermann.

Latham began representing Morpheus Space nearly a year ago, and helped the founders Daniel and Istvan Lorincz navigate a variety of legal questions on both sides of the Atlantic, culminating in a very exciting deal that will help the Company unlock the next phase of growth in its mission.

Pinsent Masons hires real estate regulatory and investment partner

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has hired real estate funds regulatory and investment specialist Dorothee Atwell into its Frankfurt office.

Dorothee is a funds regulatory lawyer advising on regulatory aspects of transactions and fund formation to institutional investment managers investing into real estate in Germany and abroad.

Dorothee joins from investment company Universal-Investment where she developed innovative structures for complex real estate transactions working closely with asset managers and custodians. Dorothee is also admitted to the bar in the UK and United States.

Dr. Wolfram Pätzold, Head of Real Estate Germany at Pinsent Masons said, “Dorothee is a recognised expert in real estate investment and regulatory law and will be a valuable addition to the development of the firm’s real estate offering in Germany.”

Rainer Kreifels, Head of Germany and member of the global board at Pinsent Masons said, “Dorothee’s appointment follows our continued commitment to expand the firm’s Frankfurt office which opened in 2019. This is particularly true of our real estate and financial services teams following the appointment of Antony Morton in May. Dorothee’s expertise spans across both real estate and financial services sectors and is a natural fit for the firm.”

The growth of Pinsent Masons in Germany underlines the success of its sector focus approach. Last year, its German real estate practice doubled in size. With the addition of Dr. Tobias Nuß and Katharina von Hermanni joining the partnership in 2019 and additional associates joining the team, the German real estate practice now comprises 13 lawyers in Munich, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf. The German Financial Services Team now comprises 8 lawyers in Munich and Frankfurt.

Pinsent Masons is one of the top 50 law firms in Germany. With three locations in Germany (Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich) the firm focusses on the technology, life sciences, energy, real estate and financial services sectors.

Pinsent Masons grows its Financial Services offering in Dubai

Multinational law firm, Pinsent Masons, has appointed Banking & Finance partner Matthew Escritt to lead the firm’s Banking & Finance practice in the Middle East, based in Dubai.

Matthew joins from Norton Rose Fulbright, where he has been for the past 19 years, with the past eight spent as partner in the banking and finance team. During this time he has worked in London, Moscow, Bahrain, Singapore and Dubai.

Matthew is a banking and finance specialist, advising on all areas of structured cross border finance, including syndicated lending acquisition, development finance, asset finance, vendor finance, and structured trade and commodity finance. He is familiar with both conventional and Islamic finance funding structures. He also advises on financial restructuring and insolvency mandates. Based in Dubai, he will be leading the Banking & Finance practice in the Middle East (within the Finance & Projects group) and will focus primarily on clients in the Financial Services sector.

Commenting on Matthew’s appointment, Michael Watson, head of the Finance & Projects group at Pinsent Masons said: “Matthew’s reputation precedes him and we look forward to welcoming him as head of our banking and finance practice in Dubai. His experience and expertise will greatly strengthen the practice, enabling them to deepen relationships with existing clients as well as developing new ones. His appointment is another fantastic addition to our growing international capabilities.”

Alexis Roberts, head of the Financial Services sector at Pinsent Masons added: “Matthew’s appointment is a pivotal one in increasing our financing bench strength and will enable us to better support our clients within the Financial Services sector. His breadth of experience and the clients that he’s worked with will allow us to grow our offering across the sector. We greatly look forward to him joining the team.”

Matthew Escritt, head of Banking and Finance in the Middle East added: “I am excited to have been given the opportunity to lead Pinsent Masons’ Banking & Finance practice in the region and to be part of an international team tasked with growing a strategically important practice area to complement the firm’s existing strengths. It will also ensure that we are able to provide vital, full-service support to our clients as they navigate today’s challenging business environment. Given the diverse talents of the individuals involved and the well-known strengths of the existing practice I am confident that we are well placed to achieve our goals.”

Adding to the growing multinational Finance & Projects group, Matthew’s appointment follows that of Anthony Morton in Frankfurt, James Harris in Asia, Jim Hunwick in Sydney and Eran Chivka in Paris.

Clifford Chance advises KKR on €1.5 billion bolt-on acquisition

Telxius has agreed to acquire, from Telefonica’s subsidiary in Germany (O2 Deutschland), circa 10,100 mobile sites in Germany for €1.5 billion. The deal also includes a built-to-suit undertaking by means of which Telxius will build 2,400 new sites in Germany in the next four years so that O2 Deutschland can rapidly scale its tower footprint to meet existing obligations with the German government.

The €1.5 billion consideration will be mainly funded by a capital increase of Telxius to be subscribed by its existing shareholders. In 2017, KKR acquired a 40% stake in Telxius, Telefónica’s global telecommunications infrastructure company. The Spanish telecom giant retains an indirect controlling stake in Telxius, through a partnership with Pontegadea (Amancio Ortega’s investment platform).

The Clifford Chance multijurisdictional team advising KKR was led from Madrid and Frankfurt by Corporate partners Javier Amantegui, Frederik Mühl and Samir Azzouzi and senior associate Jorge Martín Sainz, and included advising on: (i) Spanish law matters by Daniel García and Laura Geli, from Corporate; Rodrigo Uría and Juan Puras, from Finance; and Jaime Almenar and Octavio Canseco, from Regulatory; (ii) German law matters by Gerd Hegele, from Corporate; Dennis Blechinger and Amrei Fuder, from Real Estate; and Dimitri Slobodenjuk, from Regulatory; and (iii) Luxembourg law matters by Christian Kremer, Mélissa Kdyem and Nina Aymé, from Corporate; and Marc Mehlen, Veronika Kaszas and Tjasa Perger, from Finance.

Dentons advises shareholders of VRmagic on the sale of their shares

Global law firm Dentons advised the Board of Directors and shareholders of VRmagic on the sale of 77 percent of their shares in the company to the Swiss medical technology company Haag-Streit.

VRmagic was founded in 2001 and is a pioneer in virtual and augmented reality technology for medical training. The solutions developed by VRmagic enable realistic simulation of examinations and operations on the eye. The company has special expertise in the development of camera systems for high-precision optical tracking. With its Eyesi® product group, VRmagic is the market leader in the training of ophthalmologists.

With this acquisition, Haag-Streit is expanding its ophthalmology product portfolio in the key area of medical training. The transaction follows a four-year collaboration between the two companies to develop a simulator for slit lamp examinations, an important instrument for microscopic examination of the human eye.

A Dentons team led by partner Robert Bastian advised the Executive Board and the shareholders of VRmagic on the sale. Bastian has advised the company’s largest shareholder Leonardo Venture on numerous transactions over the past years.

Clifford Chance advises Shuanghuan on latest acquisition

Clifford Chance has advised China-based auto component producer Zhejiang Shuanghuan Driveline Machinery Co., Ltd (Shuanghuan) on the acquisition of a majority share in German gearbox and auto component manufacturer Schmiedetechnik Plettenberg GmbH & Co. KG and Werkzeugtechnik Plettenberg GmbH & Co. KG. German VVP Vermögensverwaltung Plettenberg GmbH & Co. KG is selling its 81 percent of its shares in both companies. Upon closing of the transaction the Chinese investor will inject further capital into the group and thereby increase its shareholding.

Schmiedetechnik Plettenberg and Werkzeugtechnik Plettenberg are engaged in R&D, manufacturing, and sale of metal mold and precision molding parts for the automotive and construction machinery sectors.

Zhejiang Shuanghuan Driveline Co., Ltd., a listed company based in Hangzhou, China, produces and sells gears and shafts. The company’s products are widely used in the fields of inter alia cars, electric cars, high-speed rail traffic, electric tools and industrial robots. By acquiring the German gear manufacturers, Shuanghuan is accelerating its international development and further expanding its European business.

The Clifford Chance team advising Shuanghuan on the acquisition comprised partner Nicole Englisch and associate Sebastian Lahner, senior associate Nico Basener, associate Annika Ascher (all Corporate/M&A, Munich), counsel Dimitri Slobodenjuk and senior associate Caroline Scholke (both Antitrust, Dusseldorf), partner Claudia Milbradt, counsel Florian Reiling and senior associate Nicolas Hohn-Hein (all IP, Düsseldorf), partner Ines Keitel, senior associate Christopher Fischer (both Frankfurt) and associate Mario Maier (Munich, all Employment), partner Mathias Elspaß, senior associate Philipp Büsch and associate Felix Feldmann (all Corporate/Public Law, Düsseldorf), partner Christian Keilich (Frankfurt), counsel Dennis Blechinger and foreign lawyer Marion Dalvai (both Munich, all Real Estate), partner Barbara Mayer-Trautmann and senior associate Jennifer Seipelt (both Acquisition Finance, Munich) and partner Olaf Mertgen and counsel Dominik Engl (both Tax, Frankfurt) as well as a team from the Clifford Chance office in Shanghai lead by partner Glen Ma and including counsel Richard Cui (both Corporate/M&A).