Michael J. Ulmer’s practice focuses on domestic and international private and public M&A transactions, joint ventures, general corporate advice (including activism defense), private equity transactions, and advice on foreign direct investment regulations.

His work extends to a broad range of industries and clients, including leading German corporates, Mittelstand companies, and domestic and international financial and strategic investors. He has vast experience in assisting clients from the Middle East with outbound investments.

Michael joined Cleary as a partner in 2016.

Notable Experiences

  • Chemours in entering into a hydrogen joint venture with BWT FUMATECH Mobility.

  • Albany International in its acquisition of German headquartered Heimbach Group.

  • DCC Healthcare, the healthcare division of DCC plc, on the acquisition of the Wörner Medizinprodukte group from Chequers Capital.

  • Merck KGaA in its divestment of Allergopharma, their worldwide allergy business, to Dermapharm Holding SE.

  • Hanon Systems on the $1.2 billion acquisition of the Global Fluid Pressure & Controls business of Magna International Inc.

  • DCC in its acquisition of TEGA - Technische Gase und Gasetechnik GmbH from Linde.

  • Codelco in its sale of a 40% participation in Deutsche Giessdraht GmbH to Aurubis.

  • Alstom in its proposed €15 billion merger with Siemens’ mobility business, including its rail traction drives business.

  • General Motors on the sale of its Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary and GM Financial’s European operations to PSA Group.

  • Bayer on the sale of its global environmental science consumer business to SBM Développement, Lyon.

  • The board of M.A.X. Automation AG, a German listed specialist supplier of automation solutions, in connection with the takeover offer by Gunther Holding, Hamburg.

  • Merck KGaA in its acquisitions of:

    • The global microbiological monitoring business from listed Biotest AG. The transaction included companies and assets in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the UK, Hungary, Italy, Japan and the U.S.;
    • Allergopharma Joachim Ganzer KG, a pharmaceutical company based in Reinbek;
    • The IP portfolio of the insolvent Konarka Group by way of auction, which was predominantly operating in the field of organic photovoltaics;
    • Biochrom AG, a pharmaceutical company based in Berlin; and
    • Luxembourg-based and LSE-listed AZ Electronics Materials in a £1.6 billion ($2.6 billion) takeover offer.
  • Swіss OC Oerlikon on the €486 million sale of its vacuum business Leybold to Atlas Copco.

  • Saudi Aramco on the establishment of a €2.75 billion joint venture in the synthetic rubber segment with Lanxess.

  • Lei Shing Hong Limited, Hong Kong, on the acquisition of the East German Mercedes sales network from Daimler Group.

  • Berkshire Hathaway Inc., on its €400 million acquisition of Detlev Louis Motorrad-Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH, Hamburg, one of the leading European specialists for motorcycle clothing and equipment.

  • Alliance Boots on the takeover offer for the leading European pharmaceutical wholesale company Andreae-Noris Zahn AG and the following squeeze-out of minorities.

  • M.A.X. Automation AG on the sale of Euroroll Dipl. Ing. K.-H. Beckmann GmbH & Co. KG, a German manufacturer of undriven roller conveyers based in Ascheberg.

  • Allergopharma GmbH & Co. KG, a member of Merck KGaA, on the formation of a joint venture for developing mobile environmental exposure chambers.

  • The shareholders of Entelios AG, Munich, on the sale of all shares to EnerNOC, Inc., a NASDAQ listed provider of energy intelligence.

  • Masdar Group on the sale of its 11.7 megawatt solar park in Gotha, Germany, by Masdar PV GmbH to the investment fund CEE, based in Hamburg.

  • Saudi Arabian solar company Sun & Life LLC, a subsidiary of ACWA Holding, on the acquisition of the insolvent solar division of the Flabeg Group.

  • M.A.X. Automation AG, Düsseldorf, on the acquisition of the AIM Group from Günther Holding GmbH.

  • ALBA Group, Berlin, on the sale of INTERSEROH NRW GmbH to TSR Recycling GmbH & Co. KG, Bottrop.

  • DIH Deutsche Industrie-Holding GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, on the sale of Hagen-based SinnLeffers GmbH to Wöhrl, a Nuremberg-based fashion retailer group.

  • Deutsche Telekom on an investment in and a cooperation with Spanish WLAN services provider Fon.

  • INTERSEROH SE on the reorganization of the INTERSEROH Group’s activities in the field of scrap metals.

See More


In Depth Feature: Shareholder Activism & Engagement – Germany Chapter,” Financier Worldwide, January 2024

M&A – recent trends in the German market,” Financier Worldwide, November 2023

Country Chapter Germany in: The Shareholder Rights and Activism Review, 8th ed., The Law Reviews, London, August 2023

Comment on ECJ, Judgment 8 December 2022, Rs. C-600/21, WuB 2023, 187

Recent Trends in Shareholder Activism in Germany,” Oxford Business Law Blog, October 14, 2022

Comment on ECJ, Judgment 8 September 2022, Rs. C-80/21 - Rs. 82/21, WuB 2022, 501

Country Chapter Germany in: The Shareholder Rights and Activism Review, 7th ed., The Law Reviews, London, August 2022

“A Look Ahead at What the German M&A Market Holds in Store,” Law360, July 22, 2022

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 5.5.2022, Rs. C-567/20, WuB 2022, 421

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 31.3.2022, Rs. C-472/20, WuB 2022, 329

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 10.6.21, Rs. C-192/20, WuB 2021, 529

Cleary Gottlieb’s quarterly German M&A Telegram, looking at the latest developments in the German M&A market

Country Chapter Germany in: The Shareholder Rights and Activism Review, 6th ed., The Law Reviews, London, 2021

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 9.7.2020, Rs. C-452/18, WuB 2020, 539

Country Chapter Germany in: The Shareholder Rights and Activism Review, 5th ed., The Law Reviews, London, 2020

The Changing World of Private Equity,” Financier Worldwide, September 2020 

Q&A: Preparing for Private Equity Exits: Impact of COVID-19,” Financier Worldwide, September 2020

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 19.12.19, Rs. C-290/19, WuB 2020, 236

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 27.2.20, Rs. C-405/18, WuB 2020, 283

Changes to the German Foreign Direct Investment Control Regime Take Shape Amid the COVID-19 Crisis,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memo, June 5, 2020 (co-author)

European Commission Urges Member States to Protect Suppliers of Essential Products From Foreign Takeovers,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memo, April 2, 2020 (co-author)

Return of the MAC? – Protecting Buyers During a Pandemic,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memo, March 30, 2020 (co-author)

New Coronavirus – Selected Legal Issues Under German Law,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memo, March 10, 2020 (co-author)

Country Chapter Germany in: The Shareholder Rights and Activism Review, 4th ed., The Law Reviews, London, 2019

Review: Seibt (ed.): Beck`sches Formularbuch Mergers & Acquisitions, 3rd ed., München, 2018, WM 2019, 339

“M&A in Zeiten von Protektionismus,” Börsen-Zeitung, October 20, 2018

Shareholder Activism Is Here to Stay,” Financier Worldwide, June 2018

Comment: BGH, Urteil v. 7.11.2017, II ZR 37/16, Frankfurt a. M., WuB 2018, 235

“Industrial Policy and Increasing Protectionism Add Complexity to M&A Transactions in Europe”, Financier Worldwide, March 2018

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 10.11.2016, Rs. C-156/15, WuB 2018, 11

“Secondary Buyouts Dominate PE Exits,” Financier Worldwide, September 2017, co-author with Mirko von Bieberstein

M&A – Deutschland im Spannungsfeld zwischen USA, China und einer zunehmend aktiven Industriepolitik, M&A Review 1-2/2017, 20 (together with O. Schröder)

Review: Meyer-Sparenberg/Jäckle (Hrsg.): Beck`sches M&A-Handbuch, München, 2017, WM 2017, 1823

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 21.12.2016, Rs. C-154/15, WuB 2017, 252

Comment: OLG Düsseldorf, Urteil v. 27.3.2015, I-16 U 108/14, WuB 2016, 754

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 3.12.2015, Rs. C-312/14, WuB 2016, 318

Comment: OLG Stuttgart, Urteil v. 27.4.2015, 5 U 120/14, WuB 2016, 126

Comment: BGH, Urteil v. 12.4.2011, XI ZR 101/09, Düsseldorf, WuB IV A. § 826 BGB 10.11

Comment: BGH, Urteil v. 12.10.2010, XI ZR 394/08, Düsseldorf, WuB IV A. § 826 BGB 1.11

Comment: BGH, Urteil v. 12.7.2010, II ZR 292/06, München, WuB I G 5. Immobilienanlagen 1.11

Comment: BGH, Urteil v. 9.3.2010, XI ZR 93/09, Düsseldorf, WuB IV A. § 826 BGB 2.10

Comment: BGH, Urteil v. 5.7.2007, IX ZR 256/06, Jena, WuB II C. § 30 GmbHG 1.08

Comment: OLG Jena, Urteil v. 30.11.2005, 6 U 906/04, WuB II C. § 30 GmbHG 3.06

Review: Kästle/Oberbracht: Unternehmenskauf - Share Purchase Agreement, Beck’sche Musterverträge, Band 49, München 2005, WM 2005, 1728

Review: Doyé/Neuhaus: Gesellschaftsvertrag der GmbH, RWS-Vertragsmuster 37, Köln 2004, DNotZ 2005, 235

Review: Hirte/v. Bülow (Hrsg.): Kölner Kommentar zum WpÜG mit AngebVO und §§ 327a – 327f AktG, Köln/Berlin/Bonn/München, 2003, WM 2003, 751

Review: Semler/Volhard (Hrsg.): Arbeitshandbuch für Unternehmensübernahmen, Bd. 1, München, 2001, WM 2002, 463

Comment: OLG Naumburg, Urteil v. 15.6.2000, 2 U 130/99, WuB I E 1. 5.01

Review: Witte, Der US-amerikanische RICO-Act und deutsche Unternehmen, Heidelberg, 1998, WM 1999, 1300

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 12.5.1998, Rs. C-367/96, WuB II N. Art. 25 Zweite RL 77/91/EWG 1.99

La culture juridique comme limite à l’harmonisation, in: Juristische Fakultät der Universität Heidelberg (Hrsg.): Coutume et tradition – l’identité culturelle face au droit communautaire, Heidelberg, 1999

Harmonisierungsschranken des Aktienrechts, Heidelberg, 1998 (Cf.: Großfeld, WM 1999, 1644; vc, Banca Borsa e Titoli di Credito, 1999, 831; as, AG 2000, R 260; Kieninger, ZEuP 2001, 202)

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 9.7.1997, Rs. C-222/95, WuB I L 6. Art. 59 EGV 2.98

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 16.12.1997, Rs. C-104/96, WuB II N. Erste RL 68/151/EWG 1.98

Einpersonengesellschaften in der EU – Die Umsetzung der zwölften gesellschaftsrechtlichen Richtlinie in nationales Recht, ZEuP 1997, 87

Comment: EuGH, Urteil v. 12.3.1996, Rs. C-441/93, WuB II A. Art. 25 RL 77/91 1.96

Stiftungsrecht im Wandel, Wissenschaftsrecht 29 (1996) 178

Gesellschaftsformen deutschen Rechts – Vergleich mit der Rechtslage in Polen, Przeglad Sadowy 1996, 85 (translated by A. Kidyba)

Die Anerkennung US-amerikanischer Gesellschaften in Deutschland, IPRax 1996, 100

Neue Tendenzen bei der Auslegung des Art. 16 Nr. 1 EuGVÜ, IPRax 1995, 72

IPR-Kurs an der Hague Academy of International Law, Jura 1993, 50