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FDI Impact on International Dealmaking Resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic


Speaker(s): Alec Burnside, Clemens Graf York von Wartenburg, Jeremy B. Zucker, Mark E. Thierfelder, Sophie Pelé
Recorded on: Jun. 25, 2020
PLI Program #: 303211

Clemens Graf York von Wartenburg focuses on EU and German competition law. He advises clients on a wide array of competition law issues, with a particular focus on complex merger control proceedings as well as cartel and abuse of dominance investigations before the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office. He also regularly oversees multi-jurisdictional merger clearance processes in countries throughout the world. In addition, he advises clients on a variety of business practices including the establishment and maintenance of compliance programs.

In 2018, he was ranked as one of Germany’s leading antitrust lawyers by weekly business magazine WirtschaftsWoche. His work is also recognized in the 2019 editions of Legal 500 and GCR 100. He is included in the Best Lawyers in Germany 2019 list published by Handelsblatt for antitrust/competition.

Mr. York has significant experience in advising multinational corporations across a broad range of industries, including automotive, air cargo, biotechnology, broadcasting and media, chemicals, consumer products, energy, financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications. Mr. York is a frequent speaker and author on antitrust/competition topics, currently particularly focusing on how cooperation on climate goals can expose companies to antitrust risk as well as the new EU FDI regulation.

Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. York worked in the Brussels, Düsseldorf and New York offices of another international law firm.


Jeremy B. Zucker, co-chair of the firm’s International Trade and Government Regulation practice, advises clients on international trade regulatory compliance matters, including in relation to anti-bribery (the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)), export controls (the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)), economic sanctions programs administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the anti-money laundering (AML) provisions of the USA Patriot Act. Mr. Zucker is a member of the Sanctions Subcommittee of the U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy. 

Mr. Zucker advises clients on the application of these laws to current activities and contemplated acquisitions; he also assists in all aspects of managing compliance with these laws: developing corporate compliance programs; conducting risk assessments and compliance audits; leading internal investigations; and representing clients before relevant agencies in connection with license requests, government inquiries, and enforcement proceedings. Mr. Zucker has conducted complex internal investigations in challenging locations across Asia, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and Latin America. 

Mr. Zucker also has extensive experience advising on national security reviews of foreign direct investment (FDI) by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). He has represented foreign investors and acquirers and domestic sellers and targets in connection with many dozens of investment transactions, and, when necessary and appropriate, he has negotiated national security agreements in order to secure CFIUS approval. Mr. Zucker has testified before the U.S. government regarding development and reform of regulations applicable to reviews of foreign investment and has assisted clients in their provision of commentary regarding the development of regulations giving effect to FIRRMA. In addition, Mr. Zucker advises clients regarding U.S. government surveillance authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). 

He has represented clients before the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, State and Treasury, as well as at the White House. Mr. Zucker also represents companies and individuals regarding audits, investigations, and sanctions proceedings in matters of suspension and debarment before U.S. government and multilateral bodies.

In 2019 Mr. Zucker was named one of the top sanctions lawyers in Washington, D.C. by Global Investigations Review and is recognized as a leading lawyer in the area of International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions by Chambers USA and Legal 500 US. He was named one of the Top 10 Rising Stars Under 40 in International Trade by Law360 in 2010. 

From 2014 to 2019, Mr. Zucker co-authored the United States chapter of Global Legal Insights - Bribery & Corruption, a book published yearly covering anti-bribery and anti-corruption law in 29 jurisdictions. The publication provides an overview of the law and enforcement regime, enforcement activity during recent years, issues relating to investigation and enforcement decisions, corporate liability, and proposed reforms in the years ahead. In 2015, Mr. Zucker was appointed to the Law360 International Trade Editorial Advisory Board.

Mr. Zucker chairs Freedom Now, a non-profit, non-governmental and non-partisan organization working to free prisoners of conscience through legal, political and public relations advocacy efforts. Freedom Now has successfully secured the release of prisoners of conscience in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.

Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. Zucker served as a partner in the international trade and investment practice of a major international law firm. He also previously worked for an investment banking firm in New York, where he structured mergers and acquisitions in Latin America.


Mark E. Thierfelder is chair of the firm's corporate and securities group, chair of the global private equity practice and member of the firm’s Policy Committee. He concentrates his practice on private equity transactions and domestic and international mergers and acquisitions throughout North America, Europe and Asia. In particular, Mr. Thierfelder represents leading private equity funds and their portfolio companies in a full range of corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations, leveraged financings, restructurings, and reorganizations. In addition, he negotiates, structures, and executes corporate transactions on behalf of strategic buyers and sellers, and has significant experience representing banks and other institutional lenders in leveraged financings and restructurings.

Over the course of his 25+ year career, Mr. Thierfelder has acted on some of the most significant transactions in the market. In fact, he played a lead role advising on the two largest private equity-backed acquisitions globally in the past three years, according to Thomson Reuters, including his representation of GIC in the acquisition by a Blackstone-led consortium of a majority stake in Thomson Reuters’ Financial & Risk business at an overall valuation of US$20 billion, and his representation of SK hynix as part of a consortium in the US$18 billion acquisition of Toshiba Corporation’s NAND flash memory and solid-state drive business. 

Mr. Thierfelder is consistently recommended by legal directory Chambers USA, where he is listed as a leading lawyer for Corporate/M&A in New York and Nationwide Private Equity Buyouts. In recent editions of Chambers, he has been described as “a businessperson's attorney,” who “has a great sense of deal dynamics and what's really going on,” is “very knowledgeable and understands the nuances involved in everything he handles” and “gets the best deal possible.” Clients have noted he is a “go-to for high-level advice on complex M&A matters" and is "a trusted partner to help navigate not only legal issues, but also business issues that arise during every negotiation." Clients have also commended him as “a fantastic leader” and “one of the most sophisticated lawyers” who “possesses a command of the entire deal process, has great commercial awareness and a good temperament for negotiating with the other side.” He has also been listed as a top private equity and mergers and acquisitions lawyer for the past eleven years by The Legal 500 (U.S.), which singled him out as an “outstanding business lawyer,” “exceptional strategist” and a “recognized expert in private equity transactions.” The Legal 500 (U.S.) has also stated that he does a “stellar job” with “very good commercial sense” and that clients “value his advice and his commitment greatly.” In addition, Mr. Thierfelder is recognized by the IFLR1000, where he is one of only 36 lawyers in the United States named a Market Leader for Private Equity and M&A.

He is also a frequent speaker and author on mergers and acquisitions and other corporate and securities topics. He has been published or featured by CNBC and Bloomberg Markets as well as in The Deal PipelineNew York Law JournalMergers & Acquisitions magazine, Investment Dealers’ DigestLaw360Private Equity Online and other prominent media outlets. In addition, Mr. Thierfelder was recently selected to attend the Harvard Law School Leadership in Law Firms conference, a six-day intensive program for senior law firm leaders around the world to develop perspectives and skills necessary to be effective law firm leaders.

Mr. Thierfelder has extensive industry experience representing clients in sectors including technology, consumer products, defense, energy, infrastructure, retail, media and communications, healthcare, restaurants, life sciences, fishing, semiconductors, software, manufacturing, financial services and food and beverage. As a result, he can anticipate and address industry-unique issues that often arise in the transaction process and structure the transactions efficiently.


Alec practices in the field of EU and UK competition law, working on cartels, dominance, mergers, and state aid, as well as the control of foreign direct investment and EU law more generally. Over the past three decades Mr. Burnside has played key roles for leading corporations, global industries and governments on issues arising across a broad spectrum of industries, including consumer products, energy and natural resources, financial services, manufacturing, military, pharmaceuticals, technology, telecoms, and transport and logistics. He appears before the European Commission and the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority, and in court appeals from their decisions, and is admitted to practice in both England and Belgium.

He is a noted commentator, inter alia co-authoring the Dechert Antitrust Merger Investigation Timing Tracker (DAMITT), which is the leading source of analysis for significant U.S. and EU antitrust merger investigation and litigation trends. Alec has been widely published over many years, actively advancing law reform initiatives and exploring new dimensions in competition law. Currently he is particularly invested in the themes around Big Data and the tech industry, as well as antitrust and sustainability, focusing also on the new EU FDI regulation.

Recently clients noted Mr. Burnside as "one of the icons of the competition Bar in Brussels" because of his "strong analytical skills and intellectual curiosity." (Chambers Global 2018). Mr. Burnside has been recognized and recommended over many years as a leading lawyer for competition law in publications such as Chambers Global, Chambers Europe, Legal 500 EMEA, Global Competition Review, International Financial Law Review, and Best Lawyers in Belgium. He was named a “thought leader” in competition by Who’s Who Legal in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Mr. Burnside leads Dechert’s cross-practice Brexit Task Force, comprising partners from across the globe and disciplines including antitrust, corporate, tax, employment, financial services and investment management, IP and data protection, litigation and international arbitration. The purpose of the task force is to lead the firm’s work on the implications of Brexit for Dechert’s clients and to drive the activities that will prepare and support our clients as they prepare for alternative exit scenarios.

Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. Burnside was resident in the Brussels office of another international law firm where he served as a partner in the antitrust practice.


Sophie Pelé, a national partner in Dechert's Paris office, advises in public law and litigation. She focuses on life sciences regulatory matters. She also covers foreign investment control in international transactions. 

Noted for her “strong regulatory expertise” by Legal 500 EMEA and author of The Life Sciences Law Review - France Chapter, Ms. Pelé has substantial experience in clinical trial, development, manufacturing or promotion agreements, licensing and distribution schemes, but also in market access transparency, lifecycle management, as well as public procurement at hospital.