Hogan Lovells advises NRW.BANK on the privatisation of WestSpiel Group

Led by partners Thomas Dünchheim and Franz-Josef Schöne, international law firm Hogan Lovells has advised NRW.BANK, the investment bank of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, in a complex proceeding regarding the privatisation of WestSpiel Group.

The Europe-wide public procurement proceeding on the sale of the shares in WestSpiel Group was successfully completed on 20 July 2021. Gauselmann Spielbanken Beteiligungs GmbH emerged as the winning bidder from the bidding process, to which three suitable interested parties were admitted. All of the shares of WestSpiel Group had previously been held by NRW.BANK. 

The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia decided on 8 May 2018 to sell WestSpiel Group and privatise the casinos in the state. Prerequisites for the privatisation were an amendment to the Casino Act (Spielbankgesetz) in NRW, which was announced on 3 June 2020, and involved continuous and close coordination with the ministries on the part of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, in particular the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Interior.  

Hogan Lovells provided extensive advice to NRW.BANK during this privatisation process. In addition to the structuring of WestSpiel Group under company law and the preparation, structuring and execution of the public procurement procedure, the advice provided also included complex issues under gambling law, EU state aid law, constitutional law, budget law, pension law, data protection law as well as company and tax law. The engagement also focused on advice relating to transaction law, in particular with regard to the company purchase agreement.  

"We are very pleased that we could advise our client during the complex and lengthy negotiations with our extensive practical know-how in the privatisation of public companies. The successful and natural collaboration between the members of our team, which was made up of highly skilled practitioners from different practice groups and different locations, guaranteed the successful provision of these complex advisory services", said Thomas Dünchheim and Franz-Josef Schöne, who in the past have already advised clients on a number of transactions in the public sector.

Hogan Lovells core team for NRW.BANK

Dusseldorf

Prof Dr Thomas Dünchheim and Dr Franz-Josef Schöne (both partners, team leads);

Carsten Bringmann (senior associate), Ines Mittermeier, Tobias Großevollmer (associates) (all public procurement law, constitutional law, gambling law, budget law, EU state aid law); 

Jens Uhlendorf (partner), Sophie Ulrich (senior associate), Merlin Laufenburg (associate) (all corporate law/M&A);

Dr Heiko Gemmel (partner), Anne de Kiff (counsel) (both tax law);

Dr Marcus Schreibauer (partner), Sarah-Lena Kreutzmann (counsel) (both data protection law);

Dr Christoph Küppers (partner, tax law, pension law); 

Dr Tim Gero Joppich (partner), Stefan Richter (counsel) (both employment law);

Hamburg

Dr Marc Schweda (partner), Nikita Ivlev (associate) (both EU state aid law, public procurement law);

Munich

Dr Thomas Frank (senior associate, pension law).


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