Firms line up for roles on GM bankruptcy

A raft of firms have won roles advising on the restructuring of the European arm of car manufacturer GM, which filed for bankruptcy in the US yesterday (1 June).

The beleaguered business will hive off its European arm – GM Europe – with Austrian-Canadian car parts manufacturer Magna International seeking to buy it, backed by an estimated €1.5bn (£1.3bn) of bridge financing from the German federal government.

Clifford Chance said that Frankfurt-based partner Kolja von Bismarck is advising GM Europe, alongside corporate counsel Stefan Sax on insolvency matters.

The UK has been closely involved in the negotiations for the future GM Europe’s UK subsidiary Vauxhall, with industry fears that a new investor could close part of the UK business. Weil Gotshal & Manges London head and corporate partner Mike Francies is believed to be advising GM Europe on the UK aspects of the deal while the firm’s US office is advising on US matters. Francies did not return calls for comment.

The Brussels office of Herbert Smith alliance firm Gleiss Lutz is advising GM Europe on EU and state aid issues, with partner Ulrich Soltész taking a lead following a pitch last November. The firm also obtained a waiver from GM to advise Magna on corporate issues. Frankfurt-based corporate partner Wolfgang Bosch is representing GM Europe.

Shearman & Sterling confirmed that it has a role advising a number of creditors, as well as a number of suppliers to GM. The Lawyer understands that Dusseldorf-based partner Harald Selzner is involved.

Baker & McKenzie has been advising GM Europe on employment law and company law, and is also advising GM Corp on the M&A and corporate aspects of the Magna deal. London corporate partner Charles Whitefoord and Berlin corporate partner Peter Wessels are advising.

According to German magazine Juve German firms Wellensiek and Apitzsch are advising GM Corporation’s subsidiary Opel. It said that Wellensiek corporate restructuring and insolvency Frankfurt-based partner Alfred Hagebusch is understood to be advising the Opel management and Wolfgang Apitzsch is advising the workers’ council.

Frankfurt-based corporate and M&A partner Ingo Kloecker at Slaughter and May’s best friend Hengeler Mueller was among a team advising Opel on the trustee structure agreed between GM, the federal and regional governments and on the bridging loan.