Shearman wins place on Allianz’s sale of Dresdner

The relationship between Shearman & Sterling German managing partner Georg Thoma and Allianz board member Paul Achleitner has paid off, with the firm winning an instruction on the insurer’s sale of Dresdner Bank.

Allianz has agreed to sell Dresdner to Germany’s Commerzbank for €9.8bn (£7.9bn) with Sullivan & Cromwell’s Frankfurt managing partner Wolfgang Feuring leading for the buyer. This is Sullivan’s first instruction from Commerzbank.

The acquisition is being financed through a mixture of cash, shares and the transfer of assets from Commerzbank to Allianz. As a result Allianz will become Commerzbank’s largest shareholder, with a position of around 30 per cent.

Thoma’s relationship with Allianz goes back to 2000, when Achleitner joined the insurance giant from Goldman Sachs, where he had held various senior positions since 1988.

Thoma has acted for the insurer on numerous deals, including its 2006 merger with Italy’s Riunione Adriatica di Sicurtà and conversion from a German listed company to a Societas Europaea (European company).

In 2001 a team led by Thoma advised Allianz on its €23bn (£15.5bn) acquisition of Dresdner.

Thomas’ team on the current deal is made up of partners across the firm’s German offices and also includes London finance partner Ian Harvey-Samuel.

At Sullivan, Feuring is working alongside London-based competition partner Juan Rodriquez. Lovells Frankfurt partner Hans-Peter Low is advising on employment issues while a Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton team headed by New York partner Robert Tortoriello is advising on the US aspects of the deal.

The transaction will take place in two steps and, subject to regulatory approval, should complete by the end of 2009.

China Development Bank, which had been in the running for Dresdner, turned to White & Case.