CEELM: Tell us a bit about the deal and your firm’s role in getting it across the finish line.
Savoric: We acted as a legal advisor to the funds of the leading global banks Goldman Sachs and Softbank in their EUR 500 million investment into the Croatian Rimac Group unicorn, now known as Bugatti-Rimac. The Rimac Group is a Croatian tech and electric supercar production company, famously known for the world’s fastest-accelerating production car, the Rimac Nevera. The Softbank and Goldman Sachs investment funds gave this leading electrified vehicle manufacturer and technology group a valuation of more than EUR 2 billion. The raised capital will be used primarily for the further development of Rimac Technology in the field of serial production for global automakers. This is also the largest investment in the Rimac Group so far – but also in a Croatian start-up or scale-up – investors such as Porsche, Hyundai, and Kia or Chinese battery manufacturer Camel Group have so far invested about USD 320 million. Founder and CEO Mate Rimac will remain the largest shareholder of the Rimac Group, the majority shareholder of the recently developed Bugatti-Rimac, and the sole shareholder of Rimac Technology.
Partner Nina Radic Kuzik was our team leader for the SoftBank investment, while Partner Mia Lazic led our team advising on the Goldman Sachs investment. The lead advisor for SoftBank was White & Case, while the lead advisor for Goldman Sachs was Linklaters.
CEELM: At what stage did you become involved and what do you believe it was about your firm/team that won you the mandate?
Savoric: As one of the leading Croatian law firms, in particular having an impeccable track record in private equity investments, we are one of the first choices for “best friends” law firms in the UK and US, so we were selected and appointed by the client and those firms. We were involved in the early stages of the transaction, providing comprehensive Croatian legal advice and guidance to both the Goldman Sachs and SoftBank investment funds. Our team’s extensive experience in cross-border investments, equity injections, and corporate law, coupled with our deep understanding of the automotive and technology sectors, positioned us as the ideal choice for this mandate. Our unwavering commitment to excellence and our ability to navigate complex legal landscapes ultimately won us the trust of these esteemed clients.
CEELM: What do you believe were the main considerations for which the jurors picked this deal as the winner?
Savoric: We strongly believe that the winner is chosen not by the largest deals in terms of their value, but by how challenging they were and how the team was able to handle them and get them across the finish line. We believe and hope our colleagues – the reputable jurors – realized how challenging and important this deal was. Working with two different clients on the same project was a challenge in itself, but having to set up firm privacy walls was a one-of-a-kind experience.
The jurors who selected this deal as the winner most likely considered several key factors. Firstly, the sheer magnitude of the investment and the involvement of two prominent global investors underscore the significance of this transaction. Secondly, the deal highlights the growing prominence of the Croatian market and the CEE region as a whole, attracting international attention and fostering economic growth. Lastly, the successful completion of this deal demonstrates the exceptional capabilities of our firm and our team, showcasing our ability to handle complex transactions under pressure.
CEELM: What were the most complex aspects of the deal from a legal perspective? And what were some of the biggest difficulties faced in the process?
Savoric: The deal presented several intricate challenges. One of the more complex aspects was simultaneously acting for two clients and providing tailor-made advice and guidance with bullet-proof privacy walls. The main thing obviously was to provide focused, solution-oriented Croatian law advice and guidance at the highest standards, and, finally, navigate the regulatory requirements to successfully close this deal. The biggest difficulties faced in the process included coordinating with multiple parties involved in the transaction, managing timelines, and addressing any unexpected issues that arose. Additionally, the deal required a thorough understanding of the technology and automotive industries, as well as the unique intellectual property considerations associated with Rimac Group’s cutting-edge innovations. Our team had to meticulously address these complexities while ensuring that the interests of both Goldman Sachs and SoftBank were protected throughout the process.
CEELM: In contrast, what, in your opinion, went particularly smoothly and what do you believe contributed to it?
Savoric: Despite the challenges, certain aspects of the deal proceeded remarkably smoothly. Our team’s proactive approach to communication and collaboration with the great and reputable White & Case and Linklaters facilitated a seamless negotiation process. Furthermore, both international and local counsels’ in-depth knowledge of the relevant industries and legal frameworks enabled us to anticipate potential roadblocks and devise effective solutions, ensuring a successful outcome for all parties.
CEELM: In your view, what is the significance of this deal for the Croatian market?
Savoric: This deal represents a significant milestone for the Croatian market, as it represents a significant investment in a local company with significant growth potential. It also demonstrates the country’s ability to attract substantial foreign investment and showcases the potential of its burgeoning tech and automotive sectors. The investment in the Rimac Group will likely spur further growth and innovation within the industry, creating new opportunities for local businesses and talent.
CEELM: What about the wider CEE region?
Savoric: The deal’s impact extends beyond Croatia, as it signals a growing interest in the CEE region from global investors. The success of this transaction may encourage further investments in the area, particularly in sectors such as technology, automotive, and renewable energy, stimulating economic growth and fostering innovation throughout the region.
CEELM: A company like Rimac is a rare breed – do you believe we can expect other similar deals in the near future? Why/Why not?
Savoric: While the Rimac Group, now named Bugatti-Rimac, is indeed a rare breed, we strongly believe that this deal will pave the way for similar transactions in the near future. The success of this investment showcases the immense potential of the Croatian market and the CEE region and it will undeniably inspire other innovative companies to pursue their ambitions and attract international investors. As the region as a whole, and Croatia in particular, continues to evolve and produce groundbreaking technologies and as global investors continue to seek opportunities in emerging markets, we expect to see more deals of this nature.