Latin America

Willkie provides strategic legal representation and trusted counsel to market-leading public and private companies operating in Latin America, engaging lawyers that have a deep knowledge of not only the language locally spoken but especially of the best market practices and trends intrinsic to deals in such jurisdictions. As a direct result of this unprecedented knowledge and prior practice in the region, Willkie can provide distinct and original solutions to its clients. Our Latin American team is comprised of lawyers who not only possess the legal knowledge and experience to handle any transaction but who also have the ability to communicate effectively with clients throughout Latin America and the rest of the world.  

Built upon the cornerstones of our global practice, the Latin American practice is known and praised by clients for its pragmatic approach to the practice of law that puts the client first and forms the basis for longstanding relationships. Working closely with clients, we promote their interests, protect their rights and position them for current success and long-term growth.

Our ability to negotiate and close deals, coupled with significant knowledge of a region’s particular rules and regulations, financial and political regimes, and customs and culture, ensures that clients seeking to conduct cross-border business with Latin America get the maximum benefit from our vast experience.

Our local understanding is based on a longstanding practice in Latin America and is strengthened by the network of local law firms and financial advisors with whom Willkie has built relationships, making the firm capable of either introducing legal and financial counsel to our clients or working with their existing adviser for Latin American matters. 

Recent Matters in Latin America*

  • Represented UK infrastructure investor John Laing Group in its $80 million acquisition of a 30 percent stake in a Colombian 4G toll road concessionaire, marking the company’s first investment in Latin America
  • Represented BNP Paribas Cardif in the negotiation of a long-term bancassurance strategic alliance in Latin America with Scotiabank
  • Represented Vilmorin & Cie, one of the world’s leading seed companies, in its acquisition of two independent South American seed companies, Sursem (Argentina) and Geneze (Brazil) from Pampa Capital
  • Represented Zurich Insurance Group in its acquisition of the individual and group life insurance businesses and the long-term savings operations of EuroAmerica in Chile
  • Represented Zurich Insurance Group in its agreement to acquire 19 travel assistance providers in Latin America, including Brazil, positioning its Cover-More Group as the leader in global travel insurance and assistance in the region
  • Represented Weener Plastics Group, a leading manufacturer of innovative plastic packaging products for consumer goods companies, and 3i being invested in Weener, in Weener’s acquisition of Proenfar, a Colombia-based manufacturer of pharmaceutical and cosmetics plastic packaging solutions for the Latin American market
  • Represented Zurich Insurance Group in the acquisition of Australian insurer QBE in Latin America, including Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, for $409 million
  • Represented Assurant, Inc., a premier global provider of risk management solutions, in its $2.5 billion deal to acquire The Warranty Group, a leading global provider of protection plans and related programs; the transaction included operations in Brazil and Mexico
  • Represented Insight Venture Partners in its investment in Bionexo, a Brazil-based electronic business community for the health care industry in Latin America and Europe
  • Represented global shipping group CMA CGM in its acquisition of Mercosul Line from Maersk Line
  • Represent CMA-CGM and its subsidiary Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited on all aspects of the Kingston Container Terminal extension project in Jamaica, from the negotiation of the concession agreement to the closing of the financing made available by Development Financial Institutions (IDB, DEG and Proparco) and commercial banks under an A-B loan 
  • Represent PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. as the court-appointed monitor and authorized foreign representative of oil and natural gas enterprise involved in the exploration, development, and production of certain oil and natural gas interests, principally in Colombia, and, to a lesser extent, in other jurisdictions including Peru, Brazil, and Belize, Pacific Exploration & Production Corp. in chapter 15 proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, resulting in the restructuring of approximately $5.4 billion
  • Represent participants in ongoing investigations regarding corporate governance, establishment of special commissions, investigative structures, and compliance with governmental expectations and requirements
  • Represented Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Ltd in its joint venture with Bradesco Seguros, creating a leading commercial large-risk insurer in Brazil
  • Represented Altos Hornos de México S.A.B. de C.V., a large Mexican steel maker, in its suspension of payments proceeding in Mexican bankruptcy court and in connection with a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights against the Mexican government to address a proposed “Coal Tax” 
  • Represent Yildirim Group in several transactions in Latin America, including the acquisition of coal-mining assets in Colombia and arbitration proceeding against CCX Colombia S.A., part of the EBX Group
  • Represented Zurich Insurance Group’s Brazilian subsidiary Zurich Minas Brasil Seguros S.A. in the negotiation of a distribution agreement with Via Varejo S.A. for the exclusive sale of extended warranty insurance through the Casas Bahia and Ponto Frio branded store networks of Via Varejo, covering almost 1,000 stores 
  • Represented Swiss Re Corporate Solutions in its acquisition of a majority stake in a leading surety company in Colombia, Compañía Aseguradora de Fianzas S.A. Confianza
  • Represented Celsia SA, Colombia’s fourth-largest power producer, in its $840 million acquisition of stakes in seven power plants in Panama and Costa Rica from GDF Suez
  • Represent Mexican state-owned oil and gas company Pemex in a FCPA & RICO claim against HP filed in December 2014
  • Represented Insight Venture Partners in its investment in KaBuM!, a Brazil-based e-commerce computer/electronics seller
  • Represented Brazil-based tax and accounting software company Folhamatic Group in its sale to UK-based Sage Group
  • Represented Insight Venture Partners, Hotel Urbano’s major institutional shareholder, in connection with Hotel Urbano’s strategic relationship with and investment from The Priceline Group; Hotel Urbano is one of Brazil's largest and fastest growing online travel companies
  • Advised Maurel & Prom in its $460 million acquisition of Knightsbridge Investment Ltd.’s Colombian and Venezuelan oil and gas assets
  • Represented Insight Venture Partners in its investment in a Brazil-based provider of healthcare management systems
  • Represented Insight Venture Partners and Accel Partners in the investment in Decolar
  • Advise various funds of funds and family offices in LatAm with structures and investments in the U.S.


* Some matters were advised on by Willkie attorneys while at a prior firm.

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Recognition, Honors & Awards

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Mergers and Acquisitions
Consistently ranked as a leader in domestic and cross-border M&A and other business combinations, Willkie has deep experience representing key participants in complex transactions.

Private Equity
Willkie is one of the few leading international law firms that has extensive U.S. and international experience in virtually every type of private equity transaction. From early-stage venture capital financings to cross-border, multibillion-dollar leveraged buyouts, we successfully represent all major parties in the transaction.

Capital Markets and Finance
Willkie represents domestic and foreign issuers and financial institutions in the full range of sophisticated capital-raising transactions in U.S. and Latin American markets.

Energy
Willkie’s multidisciplinary Energy practice advises market-leading clients operating across the globe—from development-stage firms to established multinational companies and private equity investors—in complex matters involving mining, oil and gas clean tech and alternative sources of energy.

Compliance, Investigations & Enforcement
Willkie’s leading Compliance, Investigations & Enforcement attorneys advise clients across industries that invest and operate businesses in Latin America. We provide counsel on regulatory and legal issues that arise in connection with the coordination of business initiatives in the United States. We also have particular experience in advising on matters relating to international business practices, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act, anti-money laundering, export controls, financial reporting, and trade and financial sanctions.

Insurance and Reinsurance
Willkie’s Insurance & Reinsurance Practice Group is an interdisciplinary team experienced in all aspects of transactional, regulatory and litigation work. Our Insurance Transactional and Regulatory Group provides top-tier counsel and strategic advice on matters affecting the industry in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, disclosure, governance, structured finance, reinsurance, insurance regulatory, registered products, litigation and tax. Our Insurance Dispute Resolution and Counseling team is unique in that it represents clients in all three segments of insurance coverage disputes – policyholders, insurance brokers and insurance companies.

Litigation
We represent major manufacturers, financial services companies, accounting firms, insurance and reinsurance companies and brokers, publishers, and corporate officers and directors in complex commercial litigation. We have extensive experience handling cases that involve multi-jurisdictional claims and U.S. and non-U.S. law (including Latin American) and parties.

Asset Management
Willkie’s preeminent Asset Management Group provides legal services to a wide array of clients in the asset management industry, including privately owned investment advisers, publicly traded asset management firms, broker dealers, insurance companies and banks. We regularly advise asset managers on subjects ranging from operations, to fund formations, to compliance and regulation. We provide insight and knowledge into the legal needs of sponsors of public and private funds alike, allowing us to bring a practical, efficient approach to analyzing issues and solving problems. In Latin America, our practice includes advising funds of funds and family offices on U.S. aspects of fund structuring and investments.  

Tax
The Tax group at Willkie is an international, multi-disciplinary leader in the field, providing sophisticated tax planning and structuring advice in a practical, timely and efficient manner. Our tax lawyers work closely with our M&A, private equity, insurance transactional, real estate, asset management and business reorganization and restructuring colleagues on complex transactions, both domestic and cross-border, to provide a single package of seamless advice.