Bird & Bird advises Infront ASA on acquisition of vwd Group from The Carlyle Group

By Emma Lago, Carola Rehs


International law firm Bird & Bird is advising Norwegian company Infront ASA ('Infront') on its acquisition of German company vwd Group GmbH and its European subsidiaries. The current majority shareholder, US private equity giant The Carlyle Group, acquired its shares in 2012.  

The transaction’s execution is subject to regulatory approval by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). With a purchase price of EUR 130 million the transaction’s completion is expected in the second quarter of 2019.

Through the acquisition, Infront will expand its reach beyond the Nordic market and existing subsidiary structures in the UK, France and South Africa, and gain a strong foot hold in continental Europe to create Europe’s leading financial market solutions provider. Its acquisition of Frankfurt headquartered vwd Group GmbH - which offers end-to-end technology and data solutions, Fintech and Regtech products and services for the investment industry – includes  its nine European subsidiaries including  vwd Vereinigte Wirtschaftsdienste GmbH as well as further entities in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and Switzerland. Stock Exchange announcement: 

Infront is a globally active financial analysis provider founded in Norway in 1998 and is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. The company provides highly innovative technology solutions in the form of Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud-based applications. Through its services, Infront offers market data, trading solutions and news for professional and private investors in the Nordics region and around the globe. Infront’s Professional Terminal provides real time access to data and analysis on which users can trade.  

The international Bird & Bird team, led by partner Kai Kerger (Corporate/M&A/Lead) is advising on the transaction in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, particularly on the regulatory challenges and supervisory procedures of operations in the Financial Services sector as well as questions of corporate law in an international due diligence team. The Norwegian law firm Selmer was responsible for the international management of the transaction.  

This transaction is a testament to Bird & Bird's leading reputation advising organisations being changed by technology or the digital world. Bird & Bird's corporate team regularly advises companies on investments into companies being changed by digitalization, as well as companies leading and disrupting their industries. The team's strong regulatory practice in the Financial Services Sector with a focus on Fintech, Insurtech and Regtech forms a strong basis for M&A work in this area.

The following Bird & Bird lawyers advised Infront on the transaction in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium: 

Partner Kai Kerger (Lead) and associate Ann-Kristin Asmuß, LL.M. (Corporate/M&A) as well as partner Michael Jünemann (Lead Regulatory) and associate Johannes Wirtz, LL.M. (Finance/Regulatory) comprised the core team. 

Further input came from associates Inga Kerner, Chyngyz Timur and Michael Maier (Corporate/M&A) and Julia Fröhder (Finance/Regulatory), partner Barbara Geck and associate Florian Kessenich (Employment), partner Jörg-Alexander Paul and associates Holger Niedenführ (Commercial/IT) and senior counsel Mascha Grundmann (Intellectual Property); Partner Pauline Vos and associates Marinke Moeliker (Corporate/M&A), Annemarieke van Vlodrop (Employment) and counsel Karen Berg (Commercial); Partner Paul Hermant and associates Cedric Berckmans (Corporate/M&A) and Anton Aerts (Employment).

In Norway, Selmer AS: Thomas G. Michelet, Remi Dramstad and Jon Fredrik Johansen (joint leadership)

In Switzerland, Schellenberg Wittmer: Pascal Hubli and Karin Mülchi 

In Italy, Gattai Minoli Agostinelli Partners: Nicola Martegani and Gerardo Gabrielli