Back in 2011, shortly after the vast financial crisis of 2008, Itziar Caballero Camino was approached by ARPA lawyers and consultants and asked to join the company as deputy director of the international and contract law department of the office in San Sebastián. “The company had detected a substantial need to extend the section. My task was to guide and further develop the department,” she states. With her extensive professional training in international law, she met this new challenge confidently.
Itziar Caballero Camino had been focusing on a career in international law since the outset of her professional training. “During law school, I spent a year studying abroad in Germany. The diverse ways of applying the law in different countries fascinated me. Back then I decided to aspire to a career in international law,” she remembers. After graduation, she started a master’s programme in international law at the University of Barcelona following which she went on to Oxford. Also, “speaking English, German, Italian and Spanish was an advantage to start a career in international law,” she says.
Itziar Caballero Camino outlines the economic situation in Spain back in 2011 for us, “the Spanish economy had faced major difficulties caused by the global crisis. The internal market was in a deep economic crisis, with severe impact on unemployment rates and the banking sector. The credit business was affected in particular: loan conditions were sharpened, as a consequence, the money did not flow. Since people spent less money, the companies’ businesses decreased dramatically. At the same time, a high number of companies were not able to make necessary investments. That is why many companies had to internationalise their operations.” She continues with an example, “for many going international was crucial to their company’s survival. Yet, a big number of small and medium-sized enterprises had never before conducted business outside of Spain. Therefore both consulting and legal advice were necessary to successfully master the prevailing circumstances.”
Now, a major part of her work is to assist in M&A, examining outbound and inbound M&A opportunities, and the provision of legal support and consultation of restructuring process negotiations. The clients are Spanish companies seeking business abroad as well as foreign companies operating in Spain. “Because negotiations and business valuations proceed differently depending on the country, we assist our clients on cultural issues and practical matters, as well as on tax and legal matters,” she points out. In this process, Itziar Caballero Camino sometimes gets in touch with people she met during her studies abroad, who also specialised in law. “We consult each other when having doubts or facing difficulties in order to assist our clients with interests in the respective country,” she tells us.
Down to the present day, Spain has found the path to stability and growth, providing, once again, sound conditions for investors. However, the M&A business has changed substantially. In the past years, the Spanish M&A market has become increasingly sophisticated. Today’s transactions are often driven by complex deal structures, advanced financing models, and new actors. “Investors from Mexico, North America and China are central players in cross-border M&A in Spain. Clearly, there is a growing interest on the part of China. Since M&A is one of the fastest routes for companies to expand their business and tap the global markets, China has undergone a progressive overseas expansion in the past years,” Itziar Caballero Camino explains.
Since 2014, the number of M&A deals, just as their overall value, has been growing every year. “Right now, we have reached similar levels to the ones existing before the crisis. At large, the trend is positive and the future of the M&A market is promising,” she concludes.