FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Dieter Schmitz

Dieter Schmitz

Baker & McKenzie LLP

Chicago, IL, USA

Mr. Schmitz’s practice principally involves advising US and foreign clients on acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and other business transactions. The transactions involve companies in a wide range of product and service sectors. Because of Mr. Schmitz’s international background and German fluency, many of these transactions are cross-border in nature – principally between the United States and Europe.

Practice focus

International mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances

Representative clients, cases or matters

Mr. Schmitz’s selected transactional experience is as follows, the first seven of which represented the respective client’s “largest transaction ever:”

  • Ecolab Inc. - Merger between this NYSE company and Nalco Holding Company (NYSE) with operations in 150 countries ($8.3 billion).
  • Bemis Company, Inc. - Acquisition by this NYSE company of the Food Americas operations of Alcan Packaging, a business unit of Rio Tinto plc ($1.2 billion) and the follow-on divestiture ordered by the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Prestige Brands Holdings, Inc. - Acquisition by this NYSE company of 17 over-the-counter healthcare brands from GlaxoSmithKline plc ($660 million
  • AgraQuest, Inc. – Sale by this US biotech company to Bayer CropScience, a member of the Bayer AG group ($500 million), selected by 2013 M&A Advisor Healthcare and Life Sciences "Deal of the Year" Award.
  • Gardner Denver, Inc. - Acquisition by this NYSE company of Thomas Industries Inc. (NYSE) with operations in over 20 countries ($734 million).
  • SwissairGroup AG - Acquisition by Gate Gourmet AG of Dobbs International Services, Inc. and Dobbs International (UK) Limited from Viad Corp. ($790 million).
  • Turtle Wax, Inc. - Acquisition by this US company of the European car care business of Sara Lee/DE N.V.
  • Starbucks Corporation - Acquisition by this NASDAQ company of a controlling interest in Beijing Mei Da Coffee Co. Ltd., the operator of 60 Starbucks retail stores in Beijing and Tianjin, People’s Republic of China.
  • Gardner Denver, Inc. - Acquisition of nash_elmo Holdings, LLC (formerly a division of Siemens AG) with operations in 20 countries ($224 million).
  • Brady Corporation - Sale by this NYSE company of Asian and European die- cast business ($192 million sales) to Boyd Corporation.
  • The Toro Company - Joint Venture between this NYSE company and another multi-national corporation for manufacturing in China.
  • SwissairGroup AG - Strategic Airline Catering and Services Partnership between this Swiss listed company and Delta Airlines using a newly-formed business-to-business procurement platform with i2 technology ($8 billion).
  • Innogenetics BV - Asset Sale and Worldwide Distribution Arrangement between this Belgian company and affiliates of Agfa and Bayer AG for HIV and HCV genotyping test kits.
  • SwissairGroup AG - Acquisition by SR Technics of the former B-1 bomber manufacturing facility from Boeing in Palmdale, California, to establish a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, hailed by California Governor Davis as “the largest investment by a foreign company in California in a decade.”

Publications, presentations and articles

Mr. Schmitz’s publications have addressed various aspects of international business transactions. Some of the articles have focused on licensing and franchising in the European Community and have been published in The International Lawyer and The Business Lawyer. He is a co-author (in German) of a C.H. Beck multi-national publication on U.S. commercial law. He is the editor of Willkommen in Amerika, a Baker & McKenzie handbook (in both English and German) on doing business in the United States. Mr. Schmitz’s speeches have also covered many aspects of international business transactions, and have been sponsored by groups such as the American Bar Association, American Management Association, Association of Corporate Counsel, Berlin and Dresden Chambers of Commerce, The Economist General Counsel Roundtable, Federal Commissioner for Foreign Investment in Germany, Mergermarket, and Practising Law Institute. Mr. Schmitz has been included in numerous publications and articles with respect to his international practice and transactions including AmLawDaily, Australian Financial Review, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Law 360, LegalWeek and Thomson Reuters.

Professional affiliations

Mr. Schmitz is active in many international organizations. He is a member of the board of directors of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, and serves as Vice-Chairman. Over the years, he has held various leadership positions for international issues with the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, and the Greater Chicago Chapter of the United Nations Association - USA. On the civic and charitable front, he is a long-standing member of the board of directors of the Juvenile Protective Association, a 100-year old social welfare agency founded by Jane Addams. He also launched and has chaired for over 10 years at Baker & McKenzie the Chicago office’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, which has been  extended to all North American offices. The father of four children, he served on the St. Athanasius School Board, including two years as Chairman. Mr. Schmitz has been a mentor and financial sponsor for various African-American high school students through Link Unlimited. As an Eagle Scout, he has been an Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 912 in Evanston, Illinois.

Awards and rankings

Mr. Schmitz has practiced international business law in the Chicago, Berlin and Frankfurt offices since 1984. Mr. Schmitz and his 25 years as an international attorney at Baker & McKenzie were profiled in the January 2009 issue of Chicago Lawyer. He was selected to the Thomson Reuters Partner Advisory Board in June 2011. Mr. Schmitz was granted by Francis Cardinal George on behalf of the Chicago Archdiocese the Christifideles Award in 2012. Various legal rating firms and directories have reviewed Mr. Schmitz and his M&A expertise as:

  • a “foreign expert” in both Germany and the United States for Corporate/M&A by Chambers Global 2012, 2013;
  • a “Leader in the Corporate/M&A: Overseas Counsel Field” by Chambers Global 2011;
  • an “expert” and “leader in the field” by The International Who’s Who of Merger & Acquisition Lawyers 2012; and
  • as “highly recommended” for M&A transactions by The Legal 500 (US 2010).

Education and admission


  • DePaul University College of Law (LL.M. Taxation) (1990)
  • University of Munich (1985)
  • Northwestern University School of Law (J.D. cum laude) (1984)
  • University of Freiburg (1981)
  • University of Notre Dame (B.A. magna cum laude) (1980)
  • University of Innsbruck (1978)


  • Illinois ~ United States (1984)




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