Pitch Best Young M&A Lawyer 2023: Robert Jong, CMS

De genomineerden maken dit jaar kans op de M&A Award voor Best Young M&A Lawyer 2023.

Name: Robert Jong
Company: CMS
Job Description: Corporate/M&A Lawyer
Age: 35

What are the specialties of this talent?
Robert is an exceptional talent in terms of substance and managing M&A processes. He excels in swiftly identifying obstacles and proactively taking action to address them. Robert employs humor in a measured manner and always exudes calmness and composure. He has a strong drive for continuous improvement in his field and is currently pursuing his Grotius Mergers and Acquisitions course, which he began in September of this year.

In the transaction process, Robert effectively guides clients and colleagues, both during due diligence and negotiation phases. He now independently leads many transactions, demonstrating the ability to engage specialists from other departments when needed and discuss his approach with an involved partner for approval. According to Pieter van Duijvenvoorde, attorney-partner and head of the Corporate/M&A Practice Group at CMS: “Robert is a talent within our M&A team. Robert is a true dealmaker. He combines his technical knowledge with the practical skills needed to close a deal. He maintains an overview, is highly responsive, and proactively involves clients in the transaction process and any issues that may arise. Robert is not afraid to engage in tough negotiations and possesses a keen sense of deal momentum.

Additionally, he is pleasant to work with, both for clients and counterparts. These qualities make clients appreciate working with him, and we are very happy to have Robert on our M&A team.” Robert assists international and national clients, providing advice on various aspects, including private equity transactions, joint ventures, and strategic acquisitions. Moreover, Robert is a key member of the team advising warranty & indemnity insurers on coverage of insurance policies.
He has shown that, within a very short time, he can provide clear substantive analyses with a good understanding of inherent risks in a specific sector and transaction.

A client (name known to the editorial team) states, “Very rarely do you encounter a young M&A lawyer with such well-developed commercial skills: Robert is one of that rare breed. He’s affable, pragmatic and hugely responsive, consistently providing succinct and accessible advice. He exudes calm, even when the situation does not warrant it, and always breathes control. An asset to any team.” Robert has worked on various transactions in different sectors.
From private equity deals like the acquisition of Cobase by Alpha Group and the sale of Domani Business Solutions to Capital A, he has been involved in transactions in the automotive industry and the industrial & chemicals industry and has frequently participated in real estate transactions. Since joining CMS almost six years ago, he has been advising real estate client Next Level on multiple transactions, and the client now directly engages Robert.

Client Steven Pracht (Director Finance, Next Level) says, “Robert has always been responsive, proactive, and creative in finding solutions for the legal and commercial issues that arose during the negotiations and the closing of the deals. He has also demonstrated a deep understanding of our business, as well as the relevant legal frameworks and market practices. We value his expertise, professionalism, and commitment, and we enjoy working with him and his team.”

How does the talent distinguish itself from its peers?
Partly due to his 3.5 years of experience as a fund structuring and M&A tax specialist, Robert is unique within our team as he effortlessly bridges the gap between legal, tax, and financial matters. This makes him a pleasure to converse with for any specialist at the table because he understands the different worlds and how they impact the transaction. Additionally, he has the ability to inspire the team he works with and encourage them to go the extra mile to achieve the best results, thanks to the calmness he radiates and his sense of humor.
Robert sets himself apart through the combination of drive and ambition with exceptionally strong technical skills and the talent to effectively guide transaction processes with a lot of positive energy. Robert has been given significant responsibility shortly after starting at CMS, which has contributed to his rapid growth within our office.

Through his accessibility and independence, Robert has built strong relationships both inside and outside the office. His commercial skills, combined with his technical knowledge, distinguish him from other M&A professionals.
What impact does the talent have within the organization?

Robert assumes a senior role within CMS. In larger transactions, he negotiates alongside the responsible partner and guides junior lawyers. Despite his busy schedule, Robert makes a lot of time for training attorney-trainees. Furthermore, Robert is the go-to M&A expert for lawyers from other practice groups, given his legal knowledge. This has made him an important face of the Corporate/M&A section.
The way he does his job, along with the enthusiasm he displays, makes him a beloved person to work with, both in our tax practice. Herman Boersen (tax partner and board member at CMS) says, “I have been working intensively and with great satisfaction with Robert for years. Our collaboration focuses mainly on corporate transactions and advising insurance companies on insuring warranties and indemnities in takeovers. Robert is technically skilled and always in control of deadlines. Moreover, he adeptly mentors young associates in the section, and Robert is very socially engaging.”

What impact does the talent have outside the organization?
Robert is involved in various areas at CMS and beyond. Within CMS, he contributes to lectures on substantive topics for clients and is involved in many social and recruitment activities. Recently, Robert gave presentations to clients on ESG topics and developments in the real estate sector. He has also written newsletters on takeover disputes during the pandemic.
In his free time, Robert regularly volunteers, including through NL Cares, thanks to the collaboration between that organization and CMS. Additionally, as part of his canoe trips through the city of Alkmaar, he consistently picks up litter to keep the environment clean.

To what extent does the talent make a difference to clients?
Robert is always accessible to clients. Combined with his willingness to find (creative) solutions, clients appreciate his commitment. They enjoy working with Robert and specifically request him for follow-up engagements. Clients speak highly of him.
One client (name known to the editorial team) states, “I have known Robert from multiple corporate real estate transactions he facilitated for us as a developer. It is important to me to have a lawyer who masters the theory and applies it in practice. Robert can do that. He is a dealmaker who easily switches and never loses sight of the details. He advises on the ins and outs of the transaction, whether requested or unsolicited. In negotiations, he exudes calm and is unflappable. What I also appreciate is that Robert is both accessible and approachable, and, when needed, goes the extra mile to ensure the deal’s momentum is not lost.”
Gerjan Schijlen (investor in consultancy software companies) says, “We have been working with Robert for several years. Robert is an extremely pleasant person and a pragmatic lawyer. Working with Robert feels like the teamwork of a premier league soccer team. Going for the win and then toasting to success!” One of the transactions Robert assisted Schijlen with involved the sale of Domani Business Solutions to Capital A, and Robert is currently assisting Mr. Schijlen with another transaction.

Why does the talent deserve this nomination?
Robert is a true M&A talent. In a short time, he has left a significant mark in the mergers and acquisitions world. His combination of legal, tax, and financial knowledge enables him to efficiently guide transactions in an adequate and tactical manner. He understands the importance of all stakeholders involved and works to find the best solution. Over the past few years, Robert has built an impressive track record.

He has been frequently involved in prominent international and national deals, including:
• The sale of Witec to Belgian publicly traded investor Gimv.
• The purchase of Smit Lamnalco by Boluda.
• The acquisition of Filtech by Swiss publicly traded Zehnder Group.
• The sale of Eden Hotels to KSL Capital Partners.
• The acquisition of Mayr-Melnhof Eerbeek and Baiersbronn by Oaktree Capital Management.
• The sale of Future Fuels to Hasco N.V.
• The acquisitions by Broekhuis Group of Ten Tusscher and Auto Versteeg Buurman.

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