With a growing Transactions Team that is establishing itself as one of the leading independent practices in the market, Van Bael & Bellis (VBB), a Brussels-based international law firm, is pleased to announce the arrival of leading corporate M&A partner Caroline Daout alongside senior associates Virginie Lescot and Cedric Hauben as well as associates Jens Westerwoudt and Charles-Antoine du Bus.
Based in VBB’s Brussels office, Caroline is a corporate M&A specialist with three decades of experience. She specialises in cross-border and domestic M&A transactions, including private equity and corporate venture capital transactions, private M&A and equity capital markets. Caroline also has a wealth of experience advising on corporate reorganisations and representing clients in corporate disputes.
Over the years, Caroline has built a robust reputation in the pharmaceutical, technology and energy sectors, where she has handled several high-profile and complex transactions. This sector-specific expertise adds even further depth to VBB’s “market-leading life sciences practice”, which Legal 500 points out is “highly regarded by public and private sector clients, ranging from multinational pharmaceutical giants to pan-European associations and sovereign states”. Caroline is also recognised by Legal 500 as a leading practitioner in Commercial, Corporate and M&A as well as Healthcare and Life Sciences.
Caroline joins from DLA Piper, where she headed the Brussels office’s Corporate and M&A practice group for more than 6 years.Virginie, Jens and Charles-Antoine also join from DLA Piper. Cedric joins from Allen & Overy, having gained prior experience at DLA Piper where he worked closely with VBB Banking, Finance and Projects partner Johan Mouraux. Johan and his team joined VBB in January 2022 from DLA Piper, where he was head of the Belgian Banking, Finance and Projects team.
About the Transactions Team of VBB
VBB’s Transactions Team handles all manner of complex cross-border and Belgian transactions. This includes M&A, banking, finance and projects, capital markets (debt and equity), insolvency and restructuring, private equity and venture capital transactions, as well as corporate real estate transactions. With three partners, one counsel and 15 associates and paralegals, the team’s recent talent acquisitions make it one of the largest transactional practices in the market.
The team is consistently ranked as one of the leading independent transactional practices in Belgium. Clients describe the team as an “incredibly hard-working and efficient team that is responsive and works well under pressure“, while another notes “the lawyers’ knowledge, and the quality of work and rapidity with which they deliver it, is very impressive” (Chambers & Partners, 2022).
Philippe De Baere, managing partner, comments: “The arrival of Caroline and her team is testimony of our long-standing strategy to be leaders in the specific areas we focus on. Our transactions team has now a depth and strength that allows it to compete with the other international practices in the market. Following the opening of our London office, this move shows once again that VBB is a firm that invests in high-end expertise for its clients.”
Michel Bonne, head of the transactional services team, adds: “Following Johan’s very successful integration in the team, we now are very pleased to welcome Caroline’s team. They add strong expertise to our already wide range of transactional services, in Belgium and abroad. We are quickly becoming one of the large transactional practices in the market, which fits into our strategic goal of being the go-to independent firm. We are very excited to work with Caroline and her team.”
 Caroline joined DLA Piper as a partner in 1999.
Van Bael & Bellis is a leading international independent law firm headquartered in Brussels with offices in London and Geneva. Established in 1986, we house a multinational team of lawyers who provide specialised advice to clients ranging from listed multinationals and government bodies to international trade associations and global law firms. Since our inception, we have developed a reputation as one of the most skilful teams of lawyers in our focused areas of expertise. We are recommended as a leading law firm by all specialised directories. The firm has a unique position in the market as one of the only independent firms to compete with the large international practices.