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It has been over a year since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation became mandatory across Europe, marking a seismic shift in the way that companies collect, process, and handle personal data. Countries across the European Union and beyond have adapted their national laws to meet the requirements of the GDPR – with many introducing local derogations as permitted by the GDPR.

Earlier this year, CEE Legal Matters reported that Herbst Kinsky Rechtsanwalte had advised Marinomed Biotech AG on its February 1, 2019 debut on the Vienna Stock Exchance, with Weber & Co. advising Erste Group Bank AG (as sole global coordinator) and Goetzpartners Securities Ltd (as co-lead manager) on the IPO. Marinomed’s was the first successful IPO in Austria since BAWAG’s in 2017.

Emmanuel Kaufman has a unique profile: An Argentinian lawyer and commercial and international investment arbitration specialist who has spent the last 12 years in two of the leading law firms in Austria. He has spent the last three and a half years as a partner at Knoetzl, where he focuses on complex arbitration proceedings in the construction, telecommunications, IT, gaming, and soft-beverages industries.

There are two interesting developments on the Austrian legal market: First, Legal Tech and Digitalization initiatives are on the rise. Second, the Top 20 law firms in Austria have increased their revenue last year, and the legal business is flourishing.

Under Austrian law, incorrect land register entries may trigger public liability. But the Austrian Supreme Court recently held that such incorrect entries only create public liability claims for of a certain group of people, thereby potentially increasing the risk management costs of mortgage-backed loans.

How do law firms in Austria promote themselves to current and prospective employees? A series of conversations with several leading firms revealed more than expected.

Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner has advised IKEA on negotiations with Jo & Joe Open House, a branch of the French hotel group Accor, related to the construction of a hotel on top of the future IKEA Westbahnhof in Vienna. DSC Doralt Seist Csoklich advised Accor Hotelbetriebs.

The Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy has recently rendered a decision that products containing Cannabidiol (CBD) shall be prohibited from being marketed on the Italian market, even if they contain less than 0.2% of the psychoactive substance Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The sale of such products had previously been permitted based on an amendment to the law regulating hemp production that removed the requirement to obtain a permit for “cannabis light.” This led to a “cannabis light boom.” The change was triggered based on the opinion of the Highest Italian Sanitary Council that even such “cannabis light” products could conceivably endanger human health. Following the Supreme Court of Cassation’s ruling, only products specified as medicinal products or certain agricultural varieties may be sold.

Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner, working with Linklaters, Wolf Theiss, and Gleiss Lutz, achieved the successful implementation of a "Company Voluntary Agreement," paving the way for the financial restructuring of the Steinhoff Group. Binder Groesswang and Allen & Overy advised the international creditor coordinating committee consisting of banks and funds. Latham & Watkins and Dorda advised the Secondary creditor committee, while Eisenberger & Herzog and Kirkland & Ellis advised the convertible bondholder.

BPV Huegel has worked with lead counsels Herbert Smith Freehills and Proskauer Rose in advising AnaCap Financial Partners on the sale of its majority shareholding in its German fintech business, the Heidelpay Group, to US investment firm KKR.

DLA Piper has advised a consortium of South Korean investors working with asset manager Mastern Investment Management on the EUR 375 acquisition, made as part of a joint venture with Munich-based asset manager Wealthcore Invester Management, of the Hilton Parkview Vienna. The sellers — two Austrian family firms — were represented by Invester United Benefits and advised by Schoenherr.

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