This acquisition is one of the most visible private equity transactions in the CEE region this year. The cross-border deal, which was one of the first acquisitions for the South African buyer in the CEE region, concerned more than a dozen European jurisdictions. The legal review, apart from the traditional legal fields, extended to food and health safety regulations in each of these jurisdictions. Also, given the worldwide presence of the target as well as the extended investment portfolio of the buyer, the merger control and regulatory compliance analysis extended to more than 50 jurisdictions across the globe.
The transaction is particularly unique as Ascendis has raised completion funds by way of a 1.2 billion ZAR (South African Rand) rights offering and vendor consideration placement on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. This complexity required detailed legal analysis and drafting in the transaction documents, as well as advising on aspects of underwriting agreements with Absa Bank and HSBC Bank to underwrite any shares not subscribed for.
The Wolf Theiss transaction team was led by partners János Tóth and Richard Clegg and supported by senior associate Melinda Pelikán regarding the finance aspects. The team in Hungary comprised of associates Márk Chiovini, Zoltán Bódog, Péter Ihász, Enikő Lukács and Zoltán Bánki. Transactional assistance came from associates Dariusz Harbaty and Nikoleta Ratcheva. Associate Paul Hesse advised in competition matters, and partner Georg Kresbach advised in intellectual property matters.