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Dr Nico Abel

Managing Partner

Nico is a corporate partner based in Frankfurt and specialises in international mergers and acquisitions. He is the managing partner of Herbert Smith Freehills' German offices.



Nico Abel has more than 20 years' experience advising corporates, financial investors and financial institutions on international M&A transactions, including private acquisitions and disposals, public takeovers, joint ventures and restructurings. 

His recent experience includes transactions in the financial services, energy, infrastructure and transport sectors. 

He is fluent in German and English.

Nico’s experience includes advising:

  • Unzer (formerly heidelpay Group) on the acquisition of the payment service provider and acquirer Clearhaus as well as the payment service provider QuickPay
  • heidelpay Group, a leading payment services provider majority owned by KKR, on the acquisition of Paysafe Pay Later, a specialist for pay-later payment methods, from the Paysafe Group
  • ANEX Group on the acquisition of Bucher Reisen and ÖGER Tours from the insolvent Thomas Cook Group
  • AnaCap Financial Partners and the founders of heidelpay on the sale of a controlling stake in heidelpay group to KKR
  • Event Hospitality & Entertainment Limited on the sale of its German cinema exhibition division, CineStar, to UK-based Vue International Bidco Plc.
  • Altra Industrial Motion Corp.,  a global manufacturer and marketer of electromechanical power transmission and motion control products listed on NASDAQ, in connection with its combination with four operating companies from Fortive’s Automation and Specialty platform (Fortive A&S)
  • Klarna Group, the leading European payment provider, on the acquisition of BillPay, one of the leading German online payment providers, from Wonga
  • Altra Industrial Motion Corp., a global manufacturer and marketer of electromechanical power transmission and motion control products listed on NASDAQ, on its acquisition of the Stromag business from GKN plc
  • the founders of Heidelpay, a leading German online payment services provider, on the sale of a controlling stake to AnaCap Financial Partners, a specialist European financial services private equity firm
  • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on a strategic joint venture with Unibail-Rodamco, regarding the indirect acquisition of a 46.1% interest in mfi AG, the second-largest German shopping centre operator;
  • Johnson Matthey on the acquisition of the energy storage business of Clariant AG;
  • Shunfeng International  Clean Energy Limited – one of the largest Chinese solar providers and owner of module maker Suntech – on the acquisition of the business of S.A.G. Solarstrom AG from its insolvency administrator;
  • Klarna, a payments provider based in Sweden, on its acquisition of SOFORT, a payment services provider based in Germany, from its majority shareholder, Reimann Investors; and
  • CA Immo on the partial sale of Tower 185, Germany's fourth-largest high-rise building, to two pension funds, including all relevant joint venture aspects


  • “Legally strong and pragmatic”, client – JUVE 2020/2021
  • ranked as one of “Germany’s Best Lawyers” for Corporate and M&A – Best Lawyers/ Handelsblatt 2021
  • recommended lawyer for M&A, private equity and corporate law - JUVE 2006 through 2021
  • "top quality, pragmatic and commercial, very good service", client – JUVE 2019/ 2020
  • listed in "Germany's Best Lawyers 2019" for M&A – Handelsblatt Rating in cooperation with Best Lawyers
  • described by clients as "experienced, quick thinking, flexible, pleasant cooperation" – JUVE 2017/2018
  • recommended lawyer for Corporate/ M&A – Legal 500 2017/2018
  • "experienced, great comprehension, responsive, flexible", client – JUVE 2016/2017
  • clients say Nico is "extremely experienced" - Legal 500 Corporate/M&A 2013
  • leading lawyer for Private Equity - Chambers & Partners 2012
  • recommended for his "very commercial and pragmatic approach" - Chambers & Partners 2011
  • rated among the Top Ten German M&A lawyers (age 40 and under) - JUVE 2007 through 2011



Nico joined Herbert Smith Freehills in 2013 after working for other market-leading international law firms.

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