Allen & Overy's Spanish practice is mainly focused on advising financial sector clients on transactions and refinancing solutions. Partner Adolfo Zunzunegui leads the department, where Ishtar Sancho supports him. As a Magic Circle firm, it has offices across the world, with tax professionals able to assist the Spanish department on all cross-border tax issues.
The firm recently acted on the five-party deal regarding the granting of a €2 billion loan to Marme Inversiones for the acquisition of Ciudad Financier from Banco Santander, including a leaseback transaction and five interest rate hedging agreements.
Andersen Tax & Legal offers a very large tax presence in Spain, with offices in four cities across the country and a tax department of 11 partners and more than 50 tax professionals. It has strong expertise within real estate taxation, general corporate tax, private client taxation and tax litigation.
Global business law firm Ashurst has a strong presence in Spain, with a team of eight lawyers dedicated to providing support on complex transactions, especially with an international element, as well as tax structuring and tax disputes.
The firm has advised on a range of transactions, including advising Morzal Property Iberia's acquisition of four large shopping centres across Spain, in what was the biggest real estate deal in Spain in 2018. The deal was worth €489 million, and the firm was responsible for managing the involvement of the various jurisdictions where the Morzal shareholders reside, structuring the injection of funds by the various shareholders and third parties and managing the acquisition structure to meet the requirements to opt for the creation of a SOCIMI. This was accomplished within a timeframe of seven weeks, due to the tight timeframe of exclusivity.
Baker McKenzie, through its strong domestic tax department and via its international network of tax professionals, is able to offer a highly capable service to many international clients, both Spanish and international. The firm advises on all areas of corporate taxation, including restructurings, tax planning, indirect taxation and transactional tax. It also has a strong wealth practice and tax litigation practice. The team is led by Rodrigo Ogea and includes seven partners, two of counsel and a large team of associates across two offices.
The tax department was involved in the recent €2.5 billion acquisition of 38.2% of NH Hotel Group by Minor Hotel Group. The 38.2% stake was acquired through various transactions with Oceanwood controlled entities and from HNA group. Minor subsequently launched a takeover bid for the entire share capital of the Spanish entity, which was accepted. The final result was Minor holding a controlling majority of 94% of the group.
Cuatrecasas is one of the best-known Iberian Peninsula law firms, with offices in Spain and Portugal, as well as internationally. It operates one of the largest of any tax departments in Spain, with 70 partners and more than 200 qualified lawyers in the department. It is organised into three disciplines: corporate tax, private tax and tax proceedings. Within each of these areas, the firm offers experts in all legal specialities, including indirect taxation, transactional tax, international taxation and real estate tax. It is also active in transfer pricing, with a number of dedicated partners and professionals.
The firm has advised Corporación Financiera Alba on its purchase, together with CVC Capital Partners, of 20% of Gas Natural Fenosa from Repsol. The transaction was widely documented as one of the largest energy sector transactions, valued at €3.8 billion. It also advised Acciona Termosolar, the indirect owner of five thermosolar plants, on all aspects of the sale of these plants for €1.1 billion.
Deloitte Legal operates a large practice in Spain, focusing the practice on cross border work, owing to the international nature of the firm, particularly within M&A, restructurings and indirect taxes. It also has a strong global mobility practice and transfer pricing practice. Brian Leonard, a specialist in M&A, is the lead partner.
The firm's expertise in cross-border transactions can be seen in the assistance to Cinven on the sale of a 100% equity interest in high-tech IT company Ufinet Group. The team structured the process of the sale, including providing assistance during the auction process and a review of tax matters within the final sale agreement. Deloitte also assisted Rhône Capital portfolio company, Zodiac, on its merger with Spanish listed multinational Fluidra. The merger resulted in a company, still under the name of Fluidra, operating in over 45 countries worldwide.
With a strong local team and a large international network of tax practitioners, Dentons Spain holds a strong position in the market. It has a strong transactional practice, with a number of cross border clients as well as domestic businesses, whom it advises on corporate taxation, as well as transactions and indirect taxation. José Ramón Vizcaino leads the department of eight lawyers, including fellow partner María Cortizas.
The firm is currently giving advice to Altum Capital Management on the transfer of a portfolio of performing and unsecured Spanish SME loans to a warehousing vehicle located in Ireland. It also advised Olimpo Real Estate Socimi on the structure for refinancing of their Spanish and Portuguese group, with the aim of minimising the effect of the stamp duty cost on the new mortgage-securitised loan.
The firm strengthened its transaction offering with the recent hire of former Linklater partner María Cortizas, who joined Dentons in early 2019 as a partner.
DLA Piper is well known in the Spanish market for its work advising multinational corporations on restructuring and reorganisational work. It is also active within the M&A market, particularly in real estate and private equity. Carlos Rodríguez is the head of the tax practice for theMadrid office. A team of tax professionals, including partner Miguel Baz, supports Rodríguez in Madrid.
The firm has been a key adviser in the well-known takeover bid and subsequent joint investment in Abertis Infraestructuras by Atlantia and others. It advised Atlantia in structuring the takeover bid, handling all of the regulatory aspects of the bid and compensating for the financing of the cash consideration, as well as anticipating potential changes to special shares envisaged to cover the share consideration. It also assisted Atlantia in its involvement in the structure by which it entered into the joint investment.
Owing to the addition of Jordi Capelleras in 2017, the tax department at Fieldfisher Jausas has significantly grown its standing within the tax litigation market. The firm operates a strong M&A practice as well as a strong financial sector tax operation due to the presence of partner Elizabeth Malagelada, who is a specialist in these areas. Partner Maria Luisa de Alarcón is also a specialist within transactional as well as corporate taxation.
The three partners were recently involved in advising the Blackrock-funded real estate fund Anticipa Real Estate on the tax effects of current legal restructuring being undertaken by the fund.
Garrigues is regarded as one of the premier law firms in the Iberian Peninsula, with 20 offices in the region, as well as offices across the rest of the world. The Iberian offices also benefit from being a member of the global Taxand network. The Spanish team deals mainly with listed Spanish companies, multinationals and foreign-listed companies. It has expertise in a variety of areas, including dedicated teams in excise and special taxes, real estate, transactions, indirect tax, family run business and private clients. Eduardo Abad leads the firm's tax department, supported by a large team including partners, counsel and associates.
The firm acted on some of the largest cases in Spain, including the creation of the 51/49% joint venture between Blackstone and Banco Santander for the Quasar Project, the real estate business of Banco Popular. The €12 billion acquisition required the firm to advise Blackstone on various structuring requirements, relating to both real estate taxation and transactional tax. The firm also assisted Blackstone in the initial valuation of the acquired portfolio.
“Garrigues takes a very practical approach in their advice which is highly valuable. They are very responsive.”
“Deep knowledge of REIT tax regime and broad assistance in all tax topics related to the day to day of the company. Always compliant with deadlines.”
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo has one of the largest tax practices of the local Spanish law firms. Enrique Ortega, who specialises in corporate and contentious tax matters, as well as transfer pricing, manages the tax practice. A large team, including partners Eduardo Martínez-Matosas, Remedios García and Ángel Vaillo support Ortega, along with a number of counsel and associates.
KPMG operates one of the largest tax departments in Spain, with more than 540 professionals working in the tax department and more than 17 partners, including managing partner and head of tax Alberto Estrelles. The firm has a wide array of specialties, including corporate tax, transactional tax and financial services taxation. It also offers more niche tax services, including its digital tax team and customs and excise taxes team.
The firm services many of the IBEX-35 companies, as well as multinational corporations and other large Iberian companies. This includes Alberta Investment Management Corporation, whom it advised on the acquisition of a majority share in Eoila's renewable business for €1.4 billion.
Linklaters in Sweden is known for its involvement in high-end, cross-border transactions, particularly with large corporates and private equity houses. The firm is familiar with all tax incentives related to these deals, due to head of tax Ebba Perman Borg, who is a specialist on Swedish tax incentives and M&A tax. A team of seven more junior lawyers completes the tax department.
The team has been advising Old Mutual in the managed separation of the Old Mutual Group into four independent businesses. The firm assisted in the client’s demerger of Quilter, the listing and distribution of 86.6% of Quilters shares to current Old Mutual shareholders, as well as the future sale of 9.6% of Quilter shares to investors, the insertion and listing of Old Mutual as a South African holding company, the distribution of 32% of Nedbank's share capital to Old Mutual shareholders, and the sale of Old Mutual Asset Management. This project allowed the Swedish team to work closely with the London, New York and Amsterdam offices.
“Linklaters are strong within transaction-related and cross-border tax matters. They have a very professional approach and are a pleasure to work with.”
UPDATE (05/05/2020): The firm decided to terminate its joint venture and will in future operate as two independent firms. The Barcelona practice will henceforth operate as Ventura Garcés, while the Madrid and Valencia offices will continue as López-Ibor.
Ventura Garcés López-Ibor operates a large independent tax team, with a focus on advising on corporate tax issues, such as reorganisations and restructurings, with experience advising the international expansion of Spanish companies, as well as assisting the establishment of multinationals in Spain. The tax department contains five partners, including Lourdes Pérez-Luque who is the head of tax.
The firm has advised on a variety of projects, including the structuring of an international restaurant group entering Spain, assisting a Spanish football club with due diligence of its current structure as well as advising on executives personal income tax for time split between Spain and other destinations.
Pérez-Llorca’s tax department focuses its attention on assisting clients with tax planning, transactional tax, including cross-border transactions, as well as assisting private clients and acting in litigation cases. Three partners lead the department: Clara Jiménez, José Suárez and Norma Peña i Bagés. Of counsel, Diego Marín-Barnuevo supports the three partners.
The firm is currently representing Técnicas Reunidas in its CIT appeal, regarding a tax assessment conducted by the authorities for the period of 2008 to 2011. The assessment found fault with the CIT treatment applied to business conducted abroad, despite audits at the time finding no fault with the tax treatment of those activities. The firm has also advised Adigital, a Spanish tech business association including SMEs as well as companies such as Google, AirBnB and Amazon. The firm offered advice on the European Commission's proposed directive on the taxation of digital services, which has already been implemented in Spain. The firm also advised the association on the necessary fulfilment of informant obligation for comparative leasing platforms, which was recently imposed by the Spanish tax authorities.
RCD is a local Spanish law firm with a tax department including 10 partners. The firm has three offices across Spain and deals with a variety of clients, including domestic SMEs, private individuals and international clients. The focus areas for the tax department include transactional tax, corporate tax including tax planning, and wealth management. The tax department is led by partner Jorge Sarró and partner José María Durán acting as the head of the wealth management division.
The firm recently promoted lawyer Fernando Blázquez to partner. Blázquez has been with the firm for more than 12 years.
Roca Junyent continues to operate a strong practice within domestic and cross-border transactional and corporate tax, as well as a strength in tax litigation. The firm also regularly practices for private clients in wealth management and inheritance cases. It has two offices in Spain, with Jordi Guarch leading the tax department in Barcelona and Raúl Salas leading the department in Madrid. The full team now consists of five partners and 17 fully dedicated fee earners.
The firm recently acted as the sole Spanish firm to assist Royal Caribbean in the creation and development of a new 12,000m2 terminal in the port of Barcelona, capable of accommodating the Oasis of the Seas class of cruise ships.
Law firm Simmons & Simmons operates a small tax team in Spain, led by partner Juan Sosa Pons-Sorolla. The team is fully integrated into the Simmons & Simmons network, offering advice on all domestic and cross-border tax matters relating to Spain. It regularly advises on cross-border transactions as well as advisory services and contentious tax advice. The firm has a strong offering in all areas of the financial services sector.
The firm advises some of the largest multinational funds and banks regarding contentious proceedings in Spain. It also advises these banks and funds on a variety of transactional tasks in Spain, including advice on real estate taxation and VAT taxation regarding transactions.
Spanish VAT Services Asesores is a boutique tax firm, run by former EY lawyer, Fernando Matesanz Cuevas. He focuses purely on indirect taxation, including excise duties, VAT, customs and local or regional level indirect taxes. He currently advises a large number of multinational companies active in Spain.
Cuevas is currently advising Stora Enso Group, a consortium of foreign manufacturing companies, on the improvement of their sales structure in order to comply with VAT rules in the most efficient way possible. The firm has also advised multinational footwear, TMT and garment companies on their indirect tax policies in Spain.
“Excellent technical capabilities, swift and precise responses, top of the class quality and strong connections with the relevant authorities. No weakness identified.”
Uría Menéndez operates offices across the world, including in Bejing, London and New York. It operates across four offices in Spain, housing 14 partners, two counsels and more than sixty additional lawyers. Rafael García Llaneza leads the team in Spain. It has particular expertise in the area of M&A, especially with cross-border transactions. It is also active in business restructuring, contentious matters and assisting HNWIs.
The firm acted as lead advisers to Banco Popular Español on the recent acquisition by a Santander and Blackstone joint venture of a portfolio of non-performing loans along with 51% interest in Aliseda SGI. The total gross book value of the portfolio in the acquisition was €30 billion. The firm also acted as the legal and tax advisers to Lone Star Funds in its acquisition with CaixaBank for a €12.8 billion portfolio of Spanish properties classified as foreclosed assets, formerly held by CaixaBank’s subsidiaries.
“They are excellent from a technical point of view and become part of our team during the analysis and execution of the projects. You can really rely on them. Their expertise allows us to avoid tax risks.”