Michael J. Willisch
  1. Partner

Mr. Willisch is a partner in Davis Polk’s Corporate Department, a member of the Spain and Latin America Practice Group and the head of our Madrid office. He advises U.S. and non-U.S. companies on capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments and credit transactions.

Work Highlights

Significant Capital Markets Transactions
  • Advised on most IPOs completed in Spain since 2004, including those of Árima Real Estate, Aedas, Unicaja, Prosegur Cash, Cellnex Telecom, Aena, Logista, Lar, Hispania, Bankia, Banca Cívica, Amadeus, Rovi, Fluidra, Criteria Caixa Corp., Codere, Almirall, Realia, Clínica Baviera, Vueling, Vocento, Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (the owner of the Spanish stock exchanges), Parquesol, Renta Corporación, Grifols, Corporación Dermoestética, Fadesa, Telecinco and Cintra
  • Rights offerings by Cellnex Telcom, Colonial, Banco Sabadell, Banco Popular, Banco Espírito Santo, OHL and Telefónica
  • Enel on its entry into share swap transactions in respect of Enel Americas and Enel Chile
  • "Re-IPOs" of Rovi and BBVA Banco Francés
  • Private placings by Oryzon
  • High-yield and SEC-registered equity offerings by Abengoa and Atlantica Yield
  • Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria on equity, debt and hybrid SEC-registered offerings
  • Telefónica on over $10 billion in SEC-registered notes offerings

Mr. Willisch has also advised on some of the largest capital markets transactions ever by Spanish issuers, including:

  • Inditex (the owner of Zara and other fashion chains) on its €2.4 billion IPO
  • The underwriters on Telefónica Móviles’ €3 billion IPO
Significant Mergers and Acquisitions Transactions
  • CaixaBank on its pending merger with Bankia
  • TiGenix on its $624 million acquisition by Takeda
  • Financial advisors on respective acquisitions of Abertis, Axiare, Europac, Hispania, Iberdrola Renovables, MasMovil, Parques Reunidos and Saeta Yield
  • Ferrovial on its merger with Cintra
  • Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria on its $10 billion acquisition of Compass Bancshares
  • Telefónica on its respective mergers with Telefónica Móviles and Terra Networks
  • Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria on its €4.1 billion cash tender offer for the remaining stake in BBVA Bancomer, Mexico’s largest bank

He has also advised on a number of in-bound or private equity investments in Spain, including:

  • Hamilton Lane on its investment in Grupo Multiasistencia
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines on its acquisition of Pullmantur
  • Quadrangle Capital Partners on its investment in Group Ono
Significant Credit Transactions
  • Westbourne Capital on its notes facility with Atlantica Yield
  • An Oaktree-sponsored vehicle on a leveraged loan secured by its interest in Eolia


Mr. Willisch is consistently recognized for his work in the legal industry:

  • Chambers Global 2018 and Chambers Europe 2018 – Band 1, Spain: Banking & Finance (U.S.-Qualified Experts)  
  • Chambers Global 2018 and Chambers Europe 2018 – Band 1, Spain: Capital Markets (U.S. Law)
  • IFLR1000 Spain: Capital Markets Debt & Equity

He is recognized as a leading lawyer in several legal industry publications, including:

  • Chambers Global
  • Chambers Europe
  • Practical Law Company’s Cross-border Capital Markets Handbook and Cross-border Finance: Secured Lending Handbook
  • Legal Media Group’s Expert Guide to the World’s Leading Capital Markets Lawyers
  • Legal 500 EMEA

Professional History

  • Partner, 2002-present
  • Associate, 1995-2002
  • Madrid office, 2002-present
  • London office, 1997-2001

Bar Admissions

  • State of New York


  • B.S., Finance, University of Utah, 1991
    • cum laude
  • B.A., Spanish, University of Utah, 1991
    • magna cum laude
  • J.D., Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, 1994
    • cum laude
    • Note and Comment Editor, Northwestern University Law Review


  • Spanish