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Krister Holmberg

Corporate CounselIndustri KapitalStockholm

Career path: Uppsala University, 1993; spent one year as a junior judge; moved to the Swedish Competition Authority, 1995-97; from 1997-2002, lawyer at Stockholm-based law firm Vinge; joined Northern European buyout firm Industri Kapital in Stockholm in 2002, after six months on secondment from Vinge. He reports to Anne Holm Rannaleet, a Stockholm-based partner responsible for information, knowledge resources and legal control.

Stemming the tide: Holmberg reflects that he was the last in a series of lawyers that had been drafted into Industri Kapital on secondment. Confronted with a rising tide of legal issues, the firm decided to make Holmberg a permanent employee at the end of his six-month stint. ?They had been thinking about appointing someone on a permanent basis for a few years,? he says. Holmberg, they decided, was the right man at the right time.

The ?pre-deal? man: Krister says the firm sees no need to bring in external lawyers as soon as it's approached by an investment banker clutching a deal proposal. Nonetheless, there is a need for someone like Holmberg to ?interpret the legalese in relation to such things as engagement letters and confidentiality agreements,? which he terms the ?pre-deal issues.? If a purchase agreement ends up being struck, Holmberg's role becomes more supervisory in nature, paying particular attention to aspects such as the shareholder agreement (?we have strong feelings on what should be in there?) and management incentives.

Follower of fashion: With Industri Kapital's deal teams strung across seven European territories, part of Holmberg's role is to keep abreast of legal issues impacting each one. ?I keep track of all European markets and actively follow general legal trends as well as those impacting the M&A markets,? he says. He says he regularly speaks to (and emails) the deal teams and assists them further by providing legal insights picked up from previous deals.

Takeover trauma: Holmberg says he does not see any ?immediate threats? to European private equity firms from legislators in the countries in which Industri Kapital operates. However, he says he closely follows rules regarding the taxing of management incentives, because they ?differ significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.? He is also waiting to see whether the 2004 EC Takeover Directive – which began to be applied by member states in May 2006 – will have implications for public-to-private transactions. Finally, he is a keen student of trends in corporate governance: ?If you're lining up an IPO, you need to be up to speed on what you have to do to meet the governance expectations of the market,? he asserts.