Danilo Mininel is a founding partner at Madrona Advogados. He holds an LLB in law from the University of São Paulo (USP) and an LLM from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Danilo advises domestic and foreign clients on M&As in Brazil, partnership agreements, shareholders’ agreements, corporate restructuring, foreign investment, incorporation of companies, corporate governance issues, competition and antitrust issues, succession and estate planning, and business and commercial contracts negotiations.
Questions & Answers
Thought Leaders 2018 - Interview with Danilo Henrique Pereira Mininel
What is it about being a lawyer that you enjoy most?
The thing I enjoy most about being a lawyer is constantly facing new challenges involving legal matters and overcoming them with creativity, along with clients and counterparties within the available legal framework.
Can you describe your career so far?
I have had the opportunity to work with brilliant people over the years and I have learnt a lot from them. I worked in complex transactions early in my career, which has allowed me to quickly build a track record in some business sectors in Brazil. I feel I now have the seniority needed to provide more strategic advice to clients and assist in transactions of different sizes, and across a whole range and in different segments. I feel I am able to do this together with an experienced team of associates, while still being engaged in executing key aspects of the projects Madrona Advogados handles.
What is the most relevant aspect of participating in an M&A deal?
Preparation. We have to understand the interests of all parties involved, and not just our client’s, when preparing for a transaction. Getting to know the M&A track record of all parties, their business backgrounds and goals, the individuals involved in the negotiations and their incentives. Building solutions that bridge these gaps, among all of the positions at the table, is key to successfully crossing the finish line and still generating value for all stakeholders involved in any transaction.
What are the top challenges of doing business in Brazil?
The standard answer to this question is the bureaucracy we have to face when doing business in Brazil, along with the lack of internal controls by companies targeted for acquisition, and legal uncertainty regarding mainly labour and tax matters. However, an aspect that most foreign investors overlook when doing business in Brazil is the challenge of partnering with family-owned companies that in some instances never had to worry about governance, or cared about having a partner. We see many transactions that fail at the closing and post-closing stages due to the lack of ability or of preparation by investors to deal with this scenario.
In light of the new government, do you expect any specific business and investment opportunities in Brazil over the next year?
Vertically related infrastructure and businesses should see great opportunities in the next few years in Brazil, and structuring the financing of such transactions is a relevant element to be considered. Retail businesses should bounce back once Brazil’s economy starts growing more steadily. This sector has suffered a lot with the crisis and companies have been financially damaged. An early move in consolidation in the many different business cases across the retail sector could give a huge head start to an investor willing to bet that Brazil will recover.
What would you like to focus your practice on in the near future?
I’d like to be able to direct my practice into generating more value for clients in negotiations, strategic planning and conflict resolution. Besides this, I’d like to be able to generate even more business opportunities and leads for the firm and propel our performance by getting involved in more high-profile deals. This would hopefully lead to Madrona Advogados receiving more acknowledgement by the legal market, our peers and clients.
How would you like to see Madrona Advogados develop over the next five years?
I am confident Madrona Advogados will become even more significant in the Brazilian corporate legal market. Getting to that point will require engagement and expertise from our associates, and we plan to improve even further, so we achieve market recognition among peers and clients as one of the top five M&A firms in Brazil, while also developing and strengthening other practices.