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Dr Ralf Thaeter


Ralf is a corporate partner based in Germany.



With his wealth of experience Ralf helps clients by piloting them to a commercial solution in difficult negotiation situations that require a clear strategic vision for closing the deal.

He has over 26 years of experience in corporate law, with a focus on public and private M&A, cross-border work, general corporate advisory and capital markets. His sector focus covers energy (in particular gas, power and renewables), regulated industries and private equity.

Ralf's experience and expertise in M&A and particularly in cross-border transactions is highlighted by clients who praise his pragmatic approach and commercial acumen.

Ralf's recent experience includes advising:

  • GIC, leading sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Singapore on its acquisition of 50% of Railpool and establishment of a joint venture with Oaktree
  • Stagecoach with respect to the sale of their European business "Megabus" to Flixbus
  • Italmobiliare S.p.A. with respect to the sale of 45 % of the shares in Italcementi S.p.A. to HeidelbergCement AG for EUR 1.67 billion
  • TUI Travel plc on its €5.8 billion all share merger with TUI AG
  • CDC infrastructure on the acquisition of a participation in an offshore wind farm project in Germany
  • Norbert Dentressangle, a transport, logistics and freight forwarding company, on its acquisition of Fiege's logistics operations in Italy, Spain and Portugal


"great experience; efficient; calm, clear and confident negotiation" - Legal 500 EMEA 2021

Ranked as one of “Germany’s Best Lawyers” for Corporate, M&A and Energy (each year since first publication in 2009) - Best Lawyers/Handelsblatt 2021

Described by clients as "a very experienced corporate lawyer with excellent understanding of the energy industry", Ralf is recommended by JUVE, Chambers and other handbooks for his expertise in M&A and energy.

"One of the frequently recommended M&A lawyers" JUVE Handbuch 2016/2017

"Ralf receives widespread praise for his work on public and private M&A with a particular focus on the gas and power sectors" Who’s Who Legal, M&A/Governance, 2015

"Clients praise his pragmatic and knowledgeable approach: 'He has an eminent understanding of the law, combined with a very good understanding of the commercial realities of the market'" Chambers Europe 2013

"A very experienced corporate lawyer with an excellent understanding of the energy industry" Chambers Europe 2012

"Ralf Thaeter 'quickly finds the most efficient legal structure'" Legal 500, 2010

"… highly regarded corporate expert focused on big-ticket energy deals …" Chambers Europe 2010

"One of the world's leading Energy and Natural Resources lawyers" Expert Guides: Guide to the World's Leading Lawyers 2010


Ralf graduated from the law school of the University of Passau, Germany in 1987 and passed his second state examination in the state of Bavaria in 1990. He holds a Doctor of Laws (Dr. iur.) from the University of Passau and, as a Fulbright scholar, a Master of Laws from the American University, Washington D.C., where he was awarded the "Outstanding Graduate Student Award".

Before joining Herbert Smith Freehills in 2013, Ralf was a partner in a leading German law firm for over 19 years.