Anton Sitnikov

Partner, Head of Corporate / M&A

Anton has been responsible for establishing Corporate / M&A practice of the firm in Russia, has been heading it since then leading the team to have become one the largest, most resourceful, diversified, versatile and most sought after by clients.

He supervises M&A, PE and JV deals in various sectors, with particular emphasis on energy / natural resources, real estate and infrastructure, retail and consumer goods, banking and finance, TMT, and industrial manufacturing.

Anton has handled a number of corporate restructuring projects, including pre-IPO and / or pre-private equity scenarios involving due diligence on groups of companies, risk identification, development of solutions for optimising corporate structures and implementation of restructuring programmes.

For several years running, Anton Sitnikov has been recommended by The Legal 500, Chambers & Partners, Who's Who Legal: CIS in Corporate / M&A and Energy & Natural Resources. Chambers Europe 2018 writes that “Anton Sitnikov is recognised by clients for his in-depth understanding of the Russian market. Clients note that he is “extremely client-oriented and pragmatic and always tries to achieve exactly what clients want, regardless of the budget, deadline or scope". IFLR1000 notes that Anton is “Very good in deal structuring, negotiations and strategy.”  Anton was also selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in Russia 2009 - 2022 in the fields of Corporate, Mergers and Acquisitions, Competition / Antitrust, Insolvency & Reorganisation, Banking and Finance, Investment. He is listed among Leading Lawyers in Financial & Corporate and Energy & Infrastructure by IFLR1000 2014 - 2020.

The Corporate / M&A Practice headed by Anton Sitnikov is a recognised leader by M&A Deal Count in Russia (Q1-Q3 2018) according to the renowned Mergermarket league table. The practice has won several awards recently: Business Law Firm of the Year - M&A / 2017 Corporate LiveWire M&A Awards; Russia Law Firm of the Year / 2016 M&A Atlas Awards; Top–3 International Law Firm in Russia for M&A deals / Russia M&A Awards 2016; The Best International Law Firm in the Russian PE Industry 2014 award for the firm within the VI Russian PE Congress.

Track Record

Some recent projects that Anton has led:

  • Advising GetCourse co-founder and CEO Sergei Mikhailov on a private equity deal with Goldman Sachs, Winter Capital Partners and Baring Vostok Capital Partners. The amount of investment round is USD 50 m.
  • Acting for 12 STOREEZ and the founders of this Russian apparel brand on the private equity deal with Baring Vostok Capital Partners Fund (BVCP).
  • Advising Gazprom Neft on launching JV with ZYFRA to develop oil and gas digital industrial platform and promoting new process solutions.
  • Advising Gazpromneft-Snabzhenie LLC on launching JV to develop the first integrated platform for supply chain management in Russia.
  • Acting as a legal consultant in Russia for Kopy Goldfields AB (publ) in connection with its acquisition of 100% of the shares in Amur Gold Company Limited, a medium-sized gold producing company based in Russia, through a reverse takeover.
  • Advising Playtech on the Russian part of a multijurisdictional deal for sale of assets and shares related to mobile games products, including St Petersburg-based Plamee Studios (the developer behind Narcos: Cartel Wars), to Tilting Point Media LLC.
  • Advising Open Mobile Platform - DC LLC and RUSINTECH LLC on sale of 75% in Open Mobile Platform and 75% in Votron LLC to Rostelecom PJSC, which through this transaction gains control over the developer of Sailfish OS and Sailfish Mobile OS RUS. 
  • Advising Orion LLC, an ESN Group company, on the sale of 100% of the shares in the fiscal data operator 1 OFD (ESK JSC) to VTB Group.
  • Advising Pangeo Capital on all aspects of setting up and operating Pangeo Radar, a Russian-Austrian joint venture between Pangeo Capital and Radarservices Smart IT Security to develop, localise and deploy IT security software for major corporations and public companies. The scope of work also included advice on matters related to governance and finance, licensing, international cross-licensing and localisation of software.
  • Advising Sun Pharma Global FZE, a group company of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, on prospective brand acquisition from a Russian competitor. Our mandate included comprehensive due diligence of the assets and related business (with particular focus on regulatory, contractual and IP), advice on structuring of the transaction, documenting and hands-on negotiating the deal.
  • Advising KOPY Goldfields AB (publ), a Swedish gold exploration company, on sale of its subsidiary Taiga LLC, which holds several exploration and production licences in the Irkutsk Region.
  • Advising SIBUR on a series of complex corporate governance aspects.
  • Advising Globus, a German hypermarket chain, on its expansion on the Russian market, specifically on acquiring a land plot and properties in north-east Moscow for a new hypermarket.
  • Advising Miratorg Agricultural Holding, one of the Russia’s largest agricultural producers, on its acquisition of 100% of shares in RAV Agro Orel and LB Orel, an agricultural arm of PPF Group allowing the client to materially boost its assets and production base.
  • Advising one of the largest financial corporations on its acquisition of a 100% share in commercial property management company which owns and manages a shopping centre with total area of over 14 000 sq m in the east of Moscow.
  • Advising AFG National, a leader on the Russian agriculture produce market, on raising up to RUB 9 bn from the Russian Direct Investments Fund and a number of Middle East funds.
  • Providing comprehensive legal support to Japanese hotel chain within the Russian Federation, including on acquiring assets and advising on structuring of a hotel business in Russia.
  • Advising Rolf Group of Companies, a major Russian car dealer, on its merger with PELICAN AUTO (BMW, Nissan and Škoda dealerships in the Moscow Region).
  • Advising and representing NOVATEK in a dispute with Nefte Petroleum Limited over their joint venture Yargeo, the Yarudeyskoye oil field operator in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area. The project involved us providing legal assistance to the client at the pre-trial dispute resolution stage and representing NOVATEK before the first instance and appeal courts, which considered the claims for Nefte Petroleum Limited to be excluded from Yargeo LLC. Our client's claims were satisfied in full, following which, during the appeal proceedings, the parties reached an amicable agreement.
  • Advising Shearman & Sterling on all Russian law related aspects that was acting as lead counsel to the underwriters, led by Deutsche Bank, Raiffeisen Centrobank and UBS, in connection with a capital increase of Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI). With gross proceeds of approximately €2.78 billion, the transaction was one of the three largest capital increases in the history of the Vienna Stock Exchange.
  • Advising Itella Russia on acquisition of MaxiPost, a Russian courier company. MaxiPost was founded in 2000 and it offers courier services to both small and big companies. Its main markets are Moscow, St Petersburg and their environs. The company makes deliveries in more than 290 cities in Russia.
  • Assisting Kvaerner in the corporation's business development activities in Russia, including establishment of partnerships with Russian companies working in the energy sector.
  • Advising OJSC Uralkali on a potential acquisition in the transport and logistics sector.
  • Advising New Idea Investment Group in relation to the Interfactor joint venture established to provide international factoring services (Europe, Russia, Asia). Our support included initial JV set-up, drafting and negotiating documentation, corporate governance advice and legal support for the client’s exit from the JV.
  • Advising the Federal Property Management Agency ("Rosimuschestvo") within the scope of a transaction for signing a shareholders’ agreement with the Republic of Bashkortostan on managing and disposing of shares in PJSC Joint Stock Oil Company Bashneft.
  • Advising Kopy Goldfields AB (OMX: KOPY) on its joint venture with GV Gold to explore and exploit the "Kransy Project" gold hard rock deposit in the Irkutsk Region.
  • Advising shareholders of the Sape Group in a transaction with Millhouse and Invest AG Fund becoming shareholders in, a major player on the Russia and CIS Internet search optimisation market. Millhouse and Invest AG consortium acquired about 30% of the shares in and the Serpzilla project (the latter scaling Sape business model on the markets of Europe, the USA and Asia).
  • Advising and supported Sheremetyevo International Airport during its reorganisation by merging with OAO Terminal — the Terminal D operator. The consolidation of assets through merger was initiated by the government and has a high potential for ensuring efficient development of the airport and significant advantages over independent development of certain terminals by individual operators. As a result of the merger, Aeroflot – Russian Airlines, VneshEconomBank and VTB became shareholders in the consolidated Sheremetyevo, with the Russian Federation remaining the majority shareholder with an 83.4% stake in the authorised capital.
  • Advising Alt Telecom on sale of its mobile communications and electronics retail chain to its strategic investor Euroset.
  • Advising Tomsk Refining AB on disposal of 100% of the shares in Tomskneftepererabotka LLC and TD Tomskneftepererabotka LLC.
  • Advising TOBTIM ULUSLARARASI TICARET MERKEZLERI ANONIM SIRKETI on its acquisition of 100% of the share capital of CJSC Business Centre Zamoskvoretchie. The target company is an operator of the Trade and Business Centre Arkadia located in the centre of Moscow, Russian Federation.
  • Advising Equifax on all aspects relating to increasing its interest in Equifax Credit Services, a credit reference agency.
  • Advising the AlfaStrakhovanie insurance group on a private equity deal related to the Medicine AlfaStrakhovanie joint venture.
  • Advising the North Caucasus Development Corporation (VEB subsidiary) on the Innovative Construction Technopark Kazbek development project (in partnership with OOO PKF Kazbek, the biggest construction company in the region), including construction of a modern construction materials production complex in the Chechen Republic.
  • Advising the North Caucasus Development Corporation (VEB subsidiary) on participating in the first stage of construction of the Arkhyz All-Season Mountain Resort.
  • Advising the North Caucasus Development Corporation (VEB subsidiary) on establishing, in conjunction with OAO Arnest Group, the National Aerosol Cluster on the territory of the national industrial park of Nevinnomyssk, Stavropol Territory, assisting in chemical industry clustering and comprehensive development.
  • Advising Sberbank of Russia on its investment project to acquire 25%+1 share in Detskiy Mir - Centre, the biggest children's goods retail store network in Russia.
  • Advising Sberbank of Russia in relation to the Sportloto Joint Venture with Russkoye Loto Group. Sportloto LLC is an official operator of state lotteries organised by the Ministry for Finance of the Russian Federation.
  • Advising Magna International on planned acquisition of the Russian and CIS part of Opel and related businesses from General Motors Corporation.
  • Advising Onexim Group in relation to acquisition of APR Bank (presently MFK Bank).
  • Advising and represented Banque Fédérale des Banques Populaires and Caisse Nationale des Caisse d’Epargne et de Prévoyance in the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation in relation to Russian anti-trust control aspects of their asset consolidation and set up of a central managing body of the second biggest French credit holding.
  • Advising Eaton Corporation on its Euro 1.55 bn worth acquisition of the Moeller Group from an investor group led by Doughty Hanson, assisting the client’s lead counsel Hengeler Mueller on all Russia-related aspects of the deal.
  • Advising LG International on its coal-mining investment projects in Russia, including corporate governance, finances and security instruments.
  • Advising Siemens on reorganisation of its Russian subsidiary via spin-off.
  • Advising RP Capital on purchase of the Serebrayniy Gorod office complex.
  • Advising Virbac SA (France) on prospective acquisition of a Group engaged in development, production and distribution of veterinarian projects in Russia.
  • Advising Danone / Bolshevik on sale of its St Petersburg-based ‘Chok & Rolls’ subsidiary.
  • Representing Vimpelcom before the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia in connection with alleged concerted actions with other mobile operators.
  • Advising Norilsk Nickel on spin-off of its gold mining assets (Polyus Zoloto) with a market value of ca. USD 10 bn as of the spin-off date.
  • Advising the ROSNO insurance company on its acquisition of a major stake in the Strakhovoi Kapital insurance company, to be subsequently renamed VTB-ROSNO.
  • Advising Bayer AG, assisting its lead counsel Hengeler Mueller in all necessary Russia-related aspects of the sale of the global Diagnostics Business of Bayer AG to Siemens AG for Euro 4.2 bn.
  • Advising Fleming Family and Partners and its lead counsel Slaughter and May on launch of FF&P Russian Real Estate Development Limited, an investment company targeting property development in Russia.
  • Advising Prof-media, one of Russia’s biggest media holdings, in consolidating its printing and editorial companies into a major Russian publishing house-Komsomolskaya Pravda (KP), now to combine the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, Express-Gazeta and Soviet Sport and thus become Russia’s biggest newspaper.
  • Advising Matra Petroleum on its acquisition project in the Russian oil and gas sector.
  • Advising on the management buy-out of the Alex Stewart Group backed by Close Brothers Private Equity.
  • Representing and advised Schlumberger Russia in relation to successful arrangement of its pension plan for its employees through ING Non-state pension fund.
  • Advising and represented Harry’s in the acquisition of ZAO Kondi.
  • Advising Boots Plc. and rendered relevant Russia-related assistance to its lead counsel Slaughter and May in the £1.926 bn worth disposal of the Boots Healthcare International business to Reckitt Benckiser.
  • Advising Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier, advised Bouygues, a construction and services conglomerate, in its acquisition of a 21% French state stake in Alstom for EUR 2 bn.
  • Advising Yum! Restaurants on its USD 100 m deal with a chain of fast food restaurants in Russia and the CIS.
  • Advising Gazprom-Media on its acquisition of Media-Most media assets, perhaps Russia’s biggest ever transaction in the media sector.
  • Advising Vostok Energy Limited on its investment projects in the Russia’s oil and gas sector.
  • Advising URALSIB on several of its corporate projects.
  • Advising New Zealand Milk on its business restructuring endeavours in Russia.
  • Advising Wimm-Bill-Dann on restructuring its juice business. Developed the plan for consolidation of the group, consisting of more than 40 business units.
  • Advised Oriflame regarding its Russian and Kazakh companies in connection with its subsequent successful IPO on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.