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Over the course of our seven years, CEE Legal Matters has interviewed most of the British lawyers working on the ground in Central and Eastern Europe as part of our recurring “Expat on the Market” feature. We reached out to them recently and asked them to bring us up to speed on what they’re doing and/or share their thoughts on the ramifications of Brexit or the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

On March 5, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Kinstellar had advised Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. on the conclusion of a share purchase agreement with the Republic of Serbia for the acquisition of an 83.23% ordinary shareholding in Komercijalna Banka a.d. Beograd. Serbia’s AP Legal and Prica & Partners advised the Government of the Republic of Serbia on the privatization.

Over the last couple of months, CEE Legal Matters reported on the launch by Romania's Mares & Mares law firm of two new alliances with firms specialized in White-Collar Crime – one in Moldova and one in Israel. We spoke with Mihai Mares, founder and Managing Partner of the firm, about his career and his firm's history, as well as the rationale behind the new alliances.

On June 3, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that White & Case and its associated Turkish firm, GKC Partners, had advised interactive entertainment company Zynga Inc. on its USD 1.8 billion acquisition of Istanbul-based mobile gaming company Peak Oyun Yazilim ve Pazarlama, A.S. Baker McKenzie, working with its Turkish affiliate, the Esin Attorney Partnership, advised Peak on the transaction, which represented the largest acquisition of a start-up in Turkey to date, and makes Peak the country’s first “unicorn.” Dentons, along with its affiliate Balcioglu Selcuk Ardiyok Keki Avukatlik Ortakligi, advised selling shareholder Hummingbird Ventures CVA, Abcoo advised Peak Founder and CEO Sidar Sahin, the Verdi Law Firm advised selling shareholders Earlybird Verwaltungs GmbH, Evren Ucok, and Demet Suzan Mutlu Ucok, and BTS & Partners advised selling shareholder Endeavour Catalyst.

On July 28, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Bulgaria’s Sabev & Partners law firm, working alongside DLA Piper, had advised the Government of Bulgaria on the tender procedure for the 35-year concession agreement for the Sofia Airport in Bulgaria, which was ultimately awarded to SOF Connect Consortium, led by Meridiam and including Munich Airport and Strabag, on its successful bid. We spoke to Sabev & Partners Iskra Neycheva and Boryana Boteva about the firm’s work on the project.

Founding Partner Haluk Bilgic reports that BilgicLegal’s busiest team was the one focused on restructuring transactions and debt financing in the first half of 2020. “That includes not just project and transaction financing but also shipping finance transactions,” Bilgic explains, while noting that the primary focus has been on restructuring existing deals, “since it’s not the best time to initiate new transactions.”