Lei Shing Hong Group’s Acquisition of Autohaus Sternagel GmbH and Autohaus Sternagel Ludwigsfelde GmbH

Norton Rose Fulbright has advised the Chinese Lei Shing Hong Group, the world’s largest dealer for Mercedes Benz cars, on the takeover of Autohaus Sternagel GmbH and Autohaus Sternagel Ludwigsfelde GmbH.

The takeover includes three operational properties by its German subsidiaries. A total of four locations is affected by the takeover: two car dealers in Potsdam, one car dealer in Nauen and one service location in Ludigsfelde. The execution of the acquisition is still subject to the approval by the German Federal Cartel Office.

Lei Shing Hong, operating under the brand Stern Auto in Germany, will significantly strengthen its position and further builds up its position as Germany’s largest dealer for Mercedes Benz cars. In the past few years, the company had initially acquired several car dealers in Thuringia, subsequently followed by 15 additional East German sales branches, acquired from Daimler AG.

Stern Auto now owns a total of 22 locations in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia. This recent acquisition enables access to Potsdam, a new and strategically important location for the Chinese car dealer network. This deal has increased the Stern Auto workforce to approximately 1,600 employees in Germany. In the most important division of vehicle trading alone, the group has more than 15,000 employees worldwide. This acquisition was part of a growth strategy which served the purpose of continually and sustainably expanding on the existing German business with car dealers for the Mercedes Benz brand.

Lei Shing Hong Group, headquartered in Hong Kong, recently achieved the highest sales figures for Mercedes Benz cars, having at its disposal more than 300 car dealers worldwide. Furthermore, the expansion in to Potsdam and Ludwigsfelde is the first acquisition of car dealers in Germany since Daimler AG had announced its interest in a participation in Lei Shing Hong last year.

The Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by of counsel Dr. Marco Niehaus (Picture) and further comprised partners Peter Holst, Nils Rahlf (both corporate/M&A), Tino Duttiné (tax), Nadine Bourgeois (financings), Thomas Hopf (real estate) and Dr. Christian Wolf (litigation, all Frankfurt), of counsels Dr. Menso Engelmann (corporate/M&A), Dr. Tobias Block, Dr. Martin Hoffmann, Bernd Schneider (all real estate, Hamburg) and Dr. Frank Bayer (tax, Munich) as well as associates Jan-Peter Heise (corporate/M&A), Roya Bayatloo (litigation) and Patrick Löffler (tax).

Involved fees earner: Marco Niehaus – Norton Rose Fulbright; Peter Holst – Norton Rose Fulbright; Nils Rahlf – Norton Rose Fulbright; Menso Engelmann – Norton Rose Fulbright; Jan-Peter Heise – Norton Rose Fulbright; Tino Duttiné – Norton Rose Fulbright; Frank Bayer – Norton Rose Fulbright; Patrick Löffler – Norton Rose Fulbright; Nadine Bourgeois – Norton Rose Fulbright; Thomas Hopf – Norton Rose Fulbright; Tobias Block – Norton Rose Fulbright; Martin Hoffmann – Norton Rose Fulbright; Bernd Schneider – Norton Rose Fulbright;

Law Firms: Norton Rose Fulbright;

Clients: Lei Shing Hong Group;