Freshfields and Cleary act on £3.1bn German bank disposal

The German offices of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton have scooped lead roles on the federal state of Berlin’s €4.6bn (£3.1bn) sale of an 81 per cent stake in Landesbank to Deutsche Sparkassen-und Giroverband öK.

Freshfields advised the state of Berlin, a longstanding client, led by the firm’s Frankfurt-based co-head of financial institutions Matthias-Gabriel Kremer.

German savings bank association Deutsche Sparkassen turned to Cleary, which fielded a team led by M&A partner Klaus Riehmer in Frankfurt.

The deal sees Deutsche Sparkassen also acquire a silent partnership in Landesbank, worth €723m (£490m). Decided through an auction process, the sale was required by the European Commission as part of the state aid package it put in place to rescue the bank when it was nearly insolvent in 2001. Kremer said Freshfields has been advising the state of Berlin for 10 years, including when it received state aid from the EU.

The exit was planned as dual-track, with the magic circle firm also advising on a potential share offering.