Gleiss Lutz, Herbert Smith's German best friend, has advised Karlsberg on the sale of 45 per cent of its alcoholic beverages division to Heineken and Paulaner. Allen & Overy's (A&O) Frankfurt office acted for the purchasers. The two companies reportedly paid around e100m (£63.9m) for the stake in Karlsberg. Heineken and Paulaner bought the stake through the German joint venture company BrauHolding International, which they set up in late 2000. A&O advised Heineken on setting up the joint venture. Munich firm Schwartz Kurtze Schniewind advised Paulaner at the time. A&O was chosen to represent the two companies on this deal four months ago, although Schwartz Kurtze still advises Paulaner. Wolfgang Bosch and Detlef Baeur led the Gleiss team. Partner Arndt Overlack, who led the A&O team, said a significant feature of the deal was the cooperative spirit with which the Gleiss lawyers conducted negotiations. "We found the Gleiss lawyers incredibly helpful and cooperative," Overlack stated. The Heineken-Karlsberg deal is the latest in a series of consolidations in the German and Benelux beer markets. The Karlsberg deal comes just a few months after Belgian brewer Interbrew bought Becks, Germany's fourth-largest beer company. "This deal was interesting from a market perspective, as there are thousands of brewers in Germany, yet we're moving to a more consolidated market," Overlack commented. "It was also a very demanding and challenging transaction, as it involved a combination of financing and trademark arrangements." A&O's Frankfurt office has worked for Heineken since 2000, although the brewer is a much more longstanding client of the firm. A&O has had a base in Germany since 1994, but according to Overlack it was not until 2000 that it became a serious player in the German corporate market. In July 2000, the Frankfurt office kickstarted the German practice's push into corporate by advising Reitter & Schefenacker on its £207m acquisition of Britax International's Rear Vision Systems. Then, in May 2001, the firm opened an office in Hamburg with a trio of corporate partners from White & Case Feddersen.