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The Mannesmann Trial and the Role of the Courts


Lawyer Peter Kolla


Article originally published in 5 German Law Journal 829 (2004)

Excerpt from "The Mannesmann Trial and the Role of the Courts":

The Financial Times billed the Mannesmann trial, which began on January 21, 2004 and where final arguments by the prosecution and by the defense are scheduled for June 30, July 8 and 14, 2004 before the Regional Court (Landgericht) in Düsseldorf, as the “biggest criminal trial in German corporate history.”1 The backdrop for the trial was the January 2000 hostile takeover of Mannesmann AG, the once massive German telecommunications and engineering company that employed over 130,000 people. Vodafone Airtouch, the British telecommunications giant, had initially offered €101 billion for Mannesmann but only succeeded in their takeover by sweetening the price to €178 billion. Consequently, the Mannesmann takeover is still the largest the world has ever seen.

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