Corporate/M&A & Private Equity: Asia-Pacific Region
Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order by firm name.
THE FIRM Allen & Overy is home to a well-oiled team that handles a raft of significant, cross-border transactions. In addition to its offices in China, Singapore, Australia and Japan, the firm also has a presence in Indonesia through an associated office and new branches in Vietnam. The firm is also known for its strength in private equity, fielding particularly impressive teams in China and Australia. In recent highlights, the China team advised Saab Automobile/SWAN on a complex series of transactions in connection with investments in the company by Pang Da Automobile and other parties. The Japanese team has been active on joint ventures, such as advising Qantas on its alliance with Japan Airlines; and the Japan and Australia teams, working together, advised a Mitsui and Mitsubishi joint venture on the acquisition of an interest in an Australian LNG project from Woodside. In India, it has advised on various notable deals, such as GVK's acquisition of a USD1.2 billion stake in Hancock Coal.
Sources say: "They're brilliant - the quality of service, speed of service, any time of the day or night and very sound commercial advice, not just legal."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Victor Ho and Mark Roppel are active partners in China, whilst Simon Black and Osamu Ito are the key contacts in Japan, and Chris Moore in Singapore.
THE FIRM This highly regarded firm has one of Australia's top corporate practices and also has a significant presence in the region, including offices in China and Singapore. Clients are quick to praise the team and value the level of local expertise it can provide across the region. Its 2012 strategic alliance with Linklaters has further increased its scope and coverage in Asia and around the world. The team's strongest mandates emanate from its Australia office where it recently advised Reco Ambrosia (an affiliate of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation), the Public Sector Pension Investment Board of Canada and a member of the Charter Hall Group on their AUD1.76 billion acquisition of Charter Hall Office REIT.
Sources say: "They are amongst the best available in this region."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sydney-based Guy Alexander and Melbourne-based Jon Webster are the joint practice heads.
THE FIRM The recent merger of Ashurst with the Australian firm Blake Dawson has boosted the enlarged firm's capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. As well as Australia, it has a strong offering in China, Singapore, India and South Korea. The firm is active in highly regulated industries, with a particular emphasis on financial services and energy and natural resources. It has recently advised Kerogen Capital (Asia) on its equity investment in New Age (African Global Energy), a deal that involved the China, Singapore and Japan teams. It also represented CGNPC Uranium Resources on its recommended potential cash offer for the entire share capital of Kalahari Minerals. Other work has included acting for Qantas on the establishment of a strategic alliance with China Eastern Airlines to create Jetstar Hong Kong.
Sources say: "They give us all the service we want and it's very high quality."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Marie McDonald heads the Australian M&A practice and Robert Ogilvy Watson is a key contact in the China office.
THE FIRM This thriving global firm has established itself as a leading player in the Asia-Pacific region. The team is a favourite with clients, with interviewees citing its commercial nous as a particular strength. The five-company consortium CITIC Group is a major client, with the China team most recently advising it on two major acquisitions: the USD1.95 billion purchase of a 15% stake in Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração and the USD1.2 billion takeover of Macarthur Coal by Peabody Energy. The Japan team has been similarly busy, advising Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance on its EUR400 million purchase of TU Europa, which Meiji undertook jointly with Talax. It also maintains a strong presence in private equity, consistently winning notable mandates for clients such as CHAMP and KKR.
Sources say: "We appreciate that we can call upon their wider network when we have transactions which cross a number of jurisdictions." "They are a good team and can bring in lots of resources when needed."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Milton Cheng, based in Hong Kong is head of the Asia-Pacific M&A practice group and Dorothea Koo leads the private equity team. In Singapore, Ai Ai Wong is a key contact, while Hiroshi Kondo heads the group in Japan.
THE FIRM This American firm garners tremendous respect from sources for its transactional abilities, and its presence in Asia has recently been strengthened with the opening of a new office in Seoul. Although it has well-regarded expertise in India and Korea, it is strongest in China. The Chinese team has recently advised GrenTech on a go-private transaction and Sichuan Hongda Group on its ongoing investment in Tanzanian mines. It also acted for Morgan Stanley as facility and security agent in Hebei Lingyun's acquisition of Kiekert and acted for Bank of America on its USD8.3 billion sale of shares in China Construction Bank. On the private equity front, its clients include KKR, for whom it acted on the establishment of a real estate investment arrangement with Sino-Ocean Land Holdings.
Sources say: "We have tremendous respect for the team, we think they are top notch."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clayton Johnson divides his time between Beijing and Hong Kong and is a key contact, as is Li Li, who is the Beijing office director.
THE FIRM Clifford Chance remains at the forefront of M&A across the region with consistent involvement in market-leading deals in an impressive array of sectors. The team is strongest in China, but has well-regarded teams in Singapore, Japan and Australia together with expertise in Indian transactions. Demonstrating the practice's strength, the Hong Kong office recently advised HSBC on the sale of its general insurance business, a deal that also involved the firm's Singapore and London offices. The group is also regularly called upon to provide strategic advice to clients such as Svenska Cellulosa and Pfizer. The Australian team acts for a range of energy and natural resources corporates and also played a role in advising Centro on various corporate issues in connection with the group's restructure. Private equity is a core strength for the team, with 15 partners advising on a range of top-notch deals including acting for Affinity Equity Partners and Unitas Capital on a USD650 million disposal of Leader Harvest Power Technologies Holdings.
Sources say: "It's been a very very pleasant experience working with them. They have specialised experts who can advise on anything that might come up."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Roger Denny continues to head the Asia-wide M&A team from China. Simon Clinton is a key contact in Singapore, Mark Pistilli and Ian Cochrane are contacts in Australia.
THE FIRM This firm is best known in Asia for the excellence of its Japanese offering, which boasts a market-leading office in Tokyo and is regularly called on to advise on top-notch transactions. Its clients cite the group's understanding of the local market and its high-quality work as particular strengths. Some of the group's most notable deals include advising NEC on its USD449 million acquisition of Convergys's information management business. It also assisted Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group on its acquisition of the remaining shares in its subsidiary Promise Company, and it advised Morgan Stanley on a securities joint venture with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. The China and Hong Kong teams' busy year involved a range of high-value acquisitions and private equity work for a range of domestic and international clients.
Sources say: "They are very professional attorneys with a deep knowledge of securities/corporate/M&A law across multiple jurisdictions." "We would use them again, it was a happy story."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Barron is head of the Hong Kong office, while Kirtee Kapoor in Hong Kong and Howard Zhang in Beijing are also key contacts in Greater China. Ted Paradise leads the team in Tokyo.
THE FIRM This prestigious firm is an established presence on the China corporate/M&A market with a particularly strong focus on private equity. The group recently advised Alibaba on its sale of a USD1.6 billion stake to a consortium of private equity investors, and it regularly works for CDH Investments, Headland Capital Partners and The Capital Group. The team is also active in India work, where it represented Asia Mezzanine Capital on its investment in SFO Technologies, and Actis Private Equity and HarbourVest Partners in their USD125 million investment in Super-Max.
Sources say: "The depth and breadth of the team is always equal to the task at hand."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Britt and Drew Dutton are the key client contacts at the firm.
THE FIRM This firm benefits from its strong Asia-Pacific-wide network, with clients citing its ability to seamlessly co-ordinate projects across the region as one of its attractions. It is prominent in the North Asian markets of China, Japan and South Korea and it also has notable expertise in Australia, Vietnam and Singapore. The practice has recently been active on a range of impressive deals including advising Schramm Holding on a HKD1.56 billion public takeover by Akzo Nobel, and it also advised the Haier Electronics Group on a USD137 million investment by The Carlyle Group, through convertible bonds and warrants. The Australian team advised Pfizer on the Australian aspects of the company's sale of its nutrition business.
Sources say: We were very happy with the service and have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Morris is the joint head of the Asia-Pacific corporate group.
THE FIRM This international powerhouse maintains a dominant presence on the Asian market, with highly regarded teams covering the key markets of China, Japan and India and with a strong presence on the ground in Vietnam. The firms has re-launched in Singapore in the third quarter of 2012 further expanding its coverage. Its local expertise combined with its multi-jurisdictional capability makes it a premier choice for international deals, with the Tokyo team attracting particular praise for its regional experience. It is active across all major industry sectors but market sources comment it is particularly strong on energy transactions. The China team is consistently involved in high-profile deals, including PepsiCo's strategic alliance with Tingyi Holdings and Yum! Brands' USD570 million takeover of the Little Sheep Group. The group also advised a consortium led by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings on the GBP4.7 billion acquisition of Northumbrian Waterbillion. The Japan office has been working on equally impressive deals, advising Barclays as financial adviser to Able & Partners on a transaction valued at USD413 million. The practice boasts a strong following of private equity clients, including TPG Capital and PAG Capital.
Sources say: "Freshfields are the best, they have a good team, they have a good culture and have consistently high-quality partners."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Ashworth heads the China team and Edward Cole heads the Tokyo practice.
THE FIRM This firm's recent merger has given it impressive strength in the region, with clients able to call on top-ranking corporate and private equity teams in Australia as well as firmly established expertise in China, Singapore and India. The practice elicits enthusiastic praise from clients, who note the lawyers are particularly on the ball. The Chinese office has been especially active in the energy sector of late, advising CNOOC on the USD1.47 billion acquisition of assets from Tullow Oil and also representing Sinopec on its acquisition of USD1.1 billion worth of equity in Australia Pacific LNG. The Singapore team has been active on a range of high-value acquisitions and private equity deals, as has the top-flight Australian team, which routinely handles billion-dollar M&A.
Sources say: "They are energetic and very commercial."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Andrew Tortoishell is the Greater China managing partner, Philippa Stone is a key contact in Australia and Austin Sweeney and Veronica O'Shea are key contacts in Singapore.
THE FIRM Hogan Lovells is a well-established practice in the Asia-Pacific region, with over 16 corporate partners across its five offices. As well its presence in the key jurisdictions of Japan, China and Singapore the firm has an office in Mongolia and has recently formed an alliance with Hermawan Juniarto in Indonesia. Recent transactional highlights include the group's advice to UBS and Goldman Sachs as joint financial advisers to Joy Global on its acquisition of shares in International Mining Machinery Holdings, valued at USD1.5 billion, and to Sincere Watch Holdings on the sale of Sincere Watch Group to Be Bright. Other clients include Aviva, News Corporation and Trafigura.
Sources say: "They provide a good level of support – they get things done and get as many people on the job as required."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jamie Barr is head of corporate in Asia.
THE FIRM With a presence in all of the major Asian jurisdictions, this firm can offer in-depth local expertise as well as assistance on pan-regional mandates. In North Asia the team operates from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei and has a strong industrial and manufacturing client base, as well as clients in the oil and gas, mining, cleantech and TMT sectors. It acted for Schneider Electric on the USD650 million acquisition of Leader Harvest Power Technologies and for Beiqi Foton Motor on its joint venture with Daimler. The Singapore office had a busy year advising on cross-border transactions, outbound investments and private equity mandates. It is also active in Australia.
Sources say: "I think it's a great firm, very team player-oriented." "They are extremely reliable, responsive and fast."
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Kao is a key contact.
THE FIRM King & Wood Mallesons boasts a solid grouping of Asian offices that are experienced in handling the full range of corporate transactions. The practice remains strongest in Australia where it is a premier choice for high-value and complex deals. The Sydney team is leading on the Australia aspects of the USD90 billion proposed merger between Glencore and Xstrata and the China team advised Telstra International on the restructuring of its Hong Kong-based joint venture which involved assets in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan and Australia.
Sources say: "Consistency, good support and good people all the way through the organisation."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Craig Semple is head of the practice area in Australia, in the PRC, Xiaolei Yang is a key contact, and in Hong Kong enquiries should be directed to Conrad Chan.
THE FIRM This firm has a prominent profile in the Asia-Pacific private equity and corporate arenas, particularly in the Chinese market but also handling a range of cross-border acquisitions, offshore financings and private equity investments in India. One of its key clients, Bain Capital, instructed the group on a number of matters, including a USD265 million go-private acquisition of China Fire & Security Group. It is also acting for NASDAQ-listed Tudou Holdings on its proposed merger with the NYSE-listed Youku. Both entities do business in China and members of the US, China and Hong Kong teams are involved in the transaction.
Sources say: "They are commercial and creative in terms of being deal lawyers. They have the broader business context in mind, not just the legal technicalities."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Eich heads the firm's global private equity team and is a key contact, as are Nicholas Norris and David Zhang; they are all based in Hong Kong.
THE FIRM This firm is strongest in Singapore but has respected groups in China, Japan and India. It is highlighted by market commentators for its diligence and efficiency and as genuine experts in the M&A sphere. The Singapore office has recently expanded to deal with its varied workload, which ranges from advising Morgan Stanley Asia (Singapore) in respect of the acquisition of Hsu Fu Chi International by Nestlé to representing Vedanta Resources during the company's USD8.67 billion purchase of Cairn India. A highlight for the China team was its advice to Bright Food Group on the USD516 million acquisition of a 75% stake in Manassen Foods from CHAMP Private Equity.
Sources say: "We had a fantastic team on this complicated deal, they did a terrific job at navigating the issues and getting us to a favourable outcome."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Liu heads the Hong Kong-based team and Rowland Cheng steers the expanded Shanghai desk. Michael Sturrock is a key contact in Singapore.
THE FIRM Market sources single out this firm's extensive network of offices across the region, highlighting the sophistication of its mandates as well as its strength on pan-Asian deals. The Greater China team wins particular praise, with commentators noting it has recently been involved in a range of standout transactions, including the sale by Lone Star of a 51% interest in Korea Exchange Bank to Hana Financial Group, a deal valued at USD3.9 billion. The Singapore team has had an active year advising RBS on the sale of certain of RBS Group's cash equities and M&A advisory businesses to the CIMB group. In a key highlight the India team advised on a USD9 billion venture between BP and Reliance. The China office is also home to a renowned private equity team, which recently acted for The Carlyle Group on its USD137 million investment in Haier Electronics Group.
Sources say: "They are my first port of call for cross-border work, they have a great global network." "I've been very happy with the depth and breadth of the team and been impressed by the abilities, confidence and communication skills of the associates."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Matthew Middleditch is the co-global head of the M&A group and is currently posted in Hong Kong. Hiroya Yamazaki is a key contact in the Tokyo office, Teresa Ma in the China team and Sandeep Katwala in the India team.
THE FIRM This firm primarily operates out of China, where the 20-partner practice has an impressive mix of both international and domestic clients including Akzo Nobel, HSBC and China Resources Holdings. The team also advises Nestlé, which it is representing on its USD11.8 billion acquisition of Pfizer's infant nutrition business. This deal draws on lawyers from the firm's Hong Kong, Mainland China, Thailand and Vietnam offices.
Sources say: "They are very thorough and prompt." "They proactively advise clients on the issues."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Martin Robertson is head of department.
THE FIRM This high-quality US firm remains a solid fixture in the Asia-Pacific corporate market. The China office has been involved in several noteworthy deals of late including involvement in Mongolian Mining's USD950 million acquisition of QGX Coal. The firm's Japan team is also involved in a range of impressive mandates, including representing ITOCHU, as part of an investor group, on its USD7.2 billion acquisition of Samson Investment.
Sources say: "They are very proactive and commercial, but also astute."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner of the China office, Anthony Root is head of the firm's Asia corporate practice.
THE FIRM This firm's Asia-Pacific network spans Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo and its substantial teams regularly attract significant cross-border transactions. Clients and peers alike regard the practice as having valuable expertise in the region, citing its network of Chinese offices as a particular strength. The China office has a solid track record and is an established presence on a range of deals including CR Power's USD699 million 56% acquisition in the Daning coal mine from Banpu. The Japanese office is home to a strong team of partners who have particular expertise in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors. The Tokyo office is one of the longest-established in international firms in Japan and one of its highlights was advising Hitachi on the USD4.8 billion sale of its data storage business. It also counts such names as Fujitsu, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Sharp and TDK amongst its clients.
Sources say: "They have excellent business acumen." "They gave very reasonable advice, the opposite side trusted them, so it went very smoothly."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Chou and Gregory Tan are the Greater China contacts, and Ken Siegel leads the Tokyo office. Chuck Comey who divides his time between Palo Alto and China is also active on Asian deals.
THE FIRM This firm is active in multiple Asian jurisdictions and its cross-border credentials are a huge attraction to its clients in the region. In China, the team is regularly involved in the energy and natural resources sector, most recently advising Sinopec Kantons Holdings on the acquisition of a majority stake in the Fujairah Oil Terminal. The Japan and Australia teams advised JX Nippon Oil & Energy on a USD435 million joint venture with Xstrata Coal. In other highlights, the Japanese office advised HSBC on the sale of its private banking business to Credit Suisse, and Sumitomo on its joint venture with Beijing Capital.
Sources say: "We regard Norton Rose as a highly respected and connected firm and they have consistently provided helpful insight into the state of the market, domestically and internationally."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Stannard is the firm's global head of corporate.
THE FIRM This firm has an excellent spread of offices across Asia, with well-established corporate/M&A practices in Japan, Singapore and China, as well as an associated office in Indonesia and a new branch in South Korea. It is a regular presence on sophisticated, multi-jurisdictional transactions, most recently on a range of M&A, joint ventures and MBOs. Market commentators praise the consistent quality of the teams across the region and clients also particularly value the group's commercial approach. A recent highlight was advising Honeywell on its USD338 million acquisition of King's Safetywear from Navis Capital, a deal which involved the firm's China, Singapore, USA and Belgium offices.
Sources say: "They are really impressive." "They understand what a global company needs. They are truly diligent, will work around the clock and are very service-oriented."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Walker Wallace and David Roberts are key contacts in Greater China, and Mangyo Kinoshita heads the Tokyo team.
THE FIRM This American group is a major player in the Asia-Pacific market with a highly respected South Korea practice which now operates from Seoul and Hong Kong, along with teams on the ground in Greater China and Japan. The firm attracts praise for its high-quality deals and enviable client base, which includes GE, Citi, UBS and Yamaha. Recent highlights include advising Samsung Electronics on its USD1.4 billion sale of its hard disk drive operations to Seagate Technology. It also advised Mapletree Investments on its USD2.4 billion acquisition of Festival Walk in Hong Kong and assisted JPMorgan on a series of complex matters involving a reverse takeover and the listing of China Daye on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Sources say: "They are exceptionally good and the customer service is also good."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Livdahl leads on many major transactions from the firm's Beijing office. Neil Torpey in Hong Kong, Toshi Arai in Tokyo and Daniel Kim in Seoul are also key contacts.
THE FIRM This firm has highly regarded capabilities across its Beijing, Hong Kong and Tokyo offices and is well placed to handle multi-jurisdictional deals, consistently attracting some of the region's leading private equity transactions. The team has an enviable client roster of private equity houses, including The Carlyle Group, KKR and Apollo Global Management. Recent highlights for the group include representing CITIC Capital Holdings on a USD200 million investment in China Cinda Asset Management and working on KKR's investment in CCBC. It is also notable for its capabilities on corporate/M&A transactions, recently representing Lagardère on the USD919 million sale of its magazine business. The China team also acted for DreamWorks Animation on its proposed joint venture with China Media Capital and other parties to establish a China-focused entertainment group.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jeanette Chan operates from both the Beijing and Hong Kong offices and Kaye Yoshino is a key contact in Japan.
THE FIRM This firm continues to be a growing force in the private equity arena, with market sources noting that it has a strong presence in China and Japan. It combines its Asia-wide talent with expertise in the USA and UK, serving clients on a range of multi-jurisdictional deals. The firm has recently further expanded its coverage with the opening of an office in Seoul; it was one of the first international firms to receive approval from the Ministry of Justice there. It has been active on a raft of impressive mandates of late, including advising Bain Capital on its complex USD3.2 billion leveraged acquisition of Skylark. The group also acted for Bain on the USD1.08 billion acquisition of a 50% stake in Jupiter Shop Channel from Sumitomo and assisted TPG Capital on a joint venture with Beijing Plaschem.
Sources say: "They are all outstanding and very down to earth. They are not only good at spotting the issues, but also resolving them."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Hong Kong-based Marcia Ellis and Tsuyoshi Imai in Tokyo are key contacts.
THE FIRM This firm's significant regional footprint makes it a solid choice for high-value cross-border transactions. It operates from Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo and elicits praise from clients for its business-oriented approach. The team covers a broad range of sectors, and was recently active in the technology and pharmaceutical areas. Recent highlights include advising Sihuan Pharmaceutical on its acquisition of Smart Baskets, and Sany Deutschland on its merger with Putzmeister Holding. It is also well known for its private equity work, which has recently included advising Goldman Sachs PIA on its investment in ReNew Wind Power.
Sources say: "We've really had outstanding service from them. They can leverage global resources to face specific issues. On a personal level, it was a very pleasant experience dealing with them."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Paul Strecker heads the firm's Asia M&A team, supported by Lee Edwards in China and Masahisa Ikeda in Japan.
THE FIRM Sidley Austin acts for an impressive range of corporate and private equity clients, with some of its most impressive work emanating from its China practice. Its clientele includes such names as Avon, Merck, Pfizer, GSK and Equity International and the team recently advised E-House on an acquisition of a stake in Century 21. The Singapore team recently represented Solusi Tuna Pratama and Petron Oil & Gas International, whilst the India office acts for 3i Infotech, ABN AMRO and JPMorgan Chase.
Sources say: "They gave us very efficient and around the clock support. Their advice and drafting is very practical and very helpful from the business point of view."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Tang Zhengyu and Constance Choy are key contacts in China, while Prabhat Mehta is a key contact in Singapore.
THE FIRM This firm offers impressive expertise across the Asia-Pacific region, thanks to its exceptional offerings in China, Hong Kong and Japan, where it wields a hefty reputation for its corporate/M&A capabilities. Clients hail the uniformly high quality of the partners and the team's extensive experience of multi-jurisdictional deals, which has recently been strengthened with the establishment of a Hong Kong law team. The team is also active in Australia, regularly advising on deals in the country, led from its Hong Kong and New York offices. The China team handles a range of market-leading deals, recently advising Hop Hing Group on its acquisition of the restaurant chain Summerfield, and Bona FilmGroup on its sale of a 19.9% equity stake to News Corporation. The Japan team provided advice to Pola Orbis during its USD300 million acquisition of Jurlique International.
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Sneider leads the Asia-Pacific team from his base in Tokyo.
THE FIRM This prestigious firm combines outstanding capabilities in cross-border transactions with a fine international standing. With offices in China, Singapore, Japan and Sydney, it attracts high-profile multinational clients including Youku, American Express and China Three Gorges. Recent deals for the China team include acting for Beijing Hainachuan Automotive Parts' acquisition of Inalfa Roof Systems Groups from AAC Capital Partners, and China Three Gorges on the acquisition of a 21% stake in EDP - Energias de Portugal for USD3.5 billion. The Japanese team has recently advised TOMY on its acquisition of the RC2 Corporation. The team is also active in Indonesia-related transactions, for example, it represented Indosat on its USD519 million sale and leaseback of 2,500 towers to Tower Bersama Infrastructure.
Sources say: "They are very commercial and very fast and they would negotiate hard for us."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The firm's Asia team is headed by Jonathan Stone, while Mitsuhiro Kamiya is the main point of contact in the Japan office.
THE FIRM This renowned international firm has a long-standing reputation for excellence in the corporate and M&A arenas and fields leading corporate teams in Hong Kong and Beijing. The work undertaken by the team is consistently of the highest level and covers a wide range of sectors for both overseas and domestic clients. The team attracts enthusiastic plaudits from clients, who value the consistent quality of the advice they receive. Highlight transactions include advising Alibaba.com on its USD2.5 billion privatisation and withdrawal from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It also represented CITIC Dicastal Wheel Manufacturing during its acquisition of KSM Castings Group. The firm's respected India team operates out of its London office and recently acted, with the Hong Kong team, for CIMB Group on the acquisition of RBS's Asian businesses, a deal which crossed several Asian jurisdictions.
Sources say: "They are practical and find solutions rather than creating issues, they had a good understanding of the transaction. They would be our first choice for future transactions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Thornhill, Neil Hyman and David Watkins are key members of the team in China.
THE FIRM This firm has established itself as a corporate heavyweight in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan and has an Australian team which is an ever-growing force. The practice in Japan has recently advised on a number of high-value deals, including for Tokio Marine during its recent acquisition of Delphi Finance in a deal valued at USD2.7 billion, and Kubota on its USD280 million acquisition of Kverneland. The China group advises a wide array of clients and is particularly active in the energy field. For example, it was recently involved in CNOOC's USD2.9 billion acquisition of assets from Tullow Oil. The Australian team acted on a range of deals including for Billabong on its sale of its interest in Nixon Inc.
Sources say: "They're very good to engage with, in particular they are extremely professional, extremely efficient, and extremely thorough lawyers".
KEY INDIVIDUALS Wei Chun heads the China team and Waldo Jones is a key contact in Sydney.
THE FIRM From its offices in China and Hong Kong, this firm's expertise extends across the entire region for a range of top-notch clients, many of whom were quick to praise the team as first-rate. Private equity is a core strength for the group and it is regularly instructed on high-value and complex deals. Most recently, it acted for Lion Capital on the highly publicised sale of a controlling stake in Weetabix Food to state-owned Chinese company Bright Food, valued at GBP1.2 billion. On the corporate/M&A front, the team is equally well regarded and handled the USD2.3 billion go-private merger of Shanda Entertainment. Standout India mandates include advising Providence Equity on its USD70 million acquisition of a stake in Hathway Cable and Datacom.
Sources say: "They are a premier international firm providing high-quality advice, and handling some of the most complex cross-border deals." "We find that the firm works as a cohesive unit across practice areas and offices."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Akiko Mikumo heads the firm's Asia team and is supported by Chinese practice head Steve Xiang.
THE FIRM This firm maintains a strong and well-recognised corporate practice throughout Asia that handles the full spectrum of corporate and M&A matters. Winning plaudits for its global network and multi-jurisdictional expertise, it attracts a plethora of high-profile multinational clients including Toshiba, Nomura and Publicis Groupe. The India and China teams advised GMR Group on the USD1.2 billion sale of its 50% stake in InterGen. Amongst other recent standout transactions were its advice to Nestlé on its USD1.7 billion acquisition of 60% of Hsu Fu Chi, and representing Haier Group on the acquisition of Sanyo Electric's white goods businesses. The group also has expertise in relation to deals which originate from Indonesia and Vietnam.
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Kirschner heads up the Singapore team, while John Leary and Li Xiaoming are key contacts in Greater China, and Brian Strawn and Jun Usami in Japan.