Corporate/M&A: The Elite (International Firms): China
Head of corporate for Asia, Roger Denny comes highly recommended by clients, with one particular source acknowledging him as “absolutely phenomenal, he will work for his client extremely hard, such is his personal commitment to the cause. He is always ready to roll up his sleeves and really fight for his clients interests.”
As the head of corporate/M&A practice in mainland China, Emma Davies has amassed considerable experience particularly in relation to working with global financial institutions and healthcare companies on inbound investments. She led the team on the Pfizer-Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceuticals joint venture. Other recent clients include Santander, Standard Life and Bayer.
Amy Ho impresses sources for her ability to “absorb the complexity of issues extremely rapidly.” In addition, her strong drafting skills are noted: “We feel her contracts really give us protection. Years down the line if something pops up unexpectedly, we know her contracts will be water-tight.”
Shanghai-based Kelly Gregory is described by one source as “helpful and knowledgeable, especially in niche industry sectors like healthcare.” Her broad corporate experience includes cross-boarder M&A, strategic investments, disposals and joint ventures.
Clifford Chance's Hong Kong office has over three decades of experience in South Korean matters, and has recently consolidated its offering with the establishment of an office on the ground in Seoul. The group advises Korean entities on a range of commercial and financing matters, including M&A, project finance and capital markets offerings. Hyun Suk Kim in Seoul is a key contact.
Stefanie Tetz in Germany is appreciated by clients for her "very high level of advice." Having headed the firm's office in Bejing between 1996 and 2000, she continues to represent clients in Chinese corporate and M&A matters.
Kathy Honeywood heads the firm's China desk in London and has experience working in China. Clients have been impressed by her skills as "an excellent project manager" when working on sizeable deals and for her "valuable document analyses." She represented a syndicate of banks in underwriting the proposed IPO and dual listings of Glencore International on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges.
Asia managing partner Robert Ashworth is held in high esteem for being “truly excellent with fantastic experience.” He is “extremely client-oriented. He will listen to a client's concerns and provide advice which not only makes sense from a legal perspective, but also from a commercial point of view.” He played a central role in the team representing Caterpillar on its takeover offer for ERA Mining Machinery.
Another name with a stellar reputation is the “undeniably first-rate” Teresa Ko. She is a driving force in the team, and continues to manage a large and diverse portfolio of equity capital markets and public and private M&A transactions. She was part of the multi-practice team advising PepsiCo on its strategic alliance in China with Tingyi and also represented China Lumena New Resources on its USD1.5 billion purchase of Sino Polymer New Materials.
Splitting his time between Shanghai and Beijing, Alan Wang's practice incorporates inbound and outbound investments, corporate restructuring, private equity and cross-border M&A. He was part of the team that acted on behalf of Shanghai Pharmaceuticals on its USD550 million acquisition of a 100% stake in China Health Systems, staggered over numerous transactions.
Jack Wang's clients “rely on him to help us understand corporate governance, regulations and common business practices in China.” He recently guided SouthGobi on Chalco's proportional take-over offer for 60% of the company, valued at USD925 million.
Heiner Braun manages the firm's Shanghai office. He is frequently active on transactions involving China and Germany, and speaks both German and Mandarin fluently. He led the cross-border team advising Ningbo Huaxiang Electronics on its acquisition of the Sellner Group.
The Munich office's senior China counsel Sabine Stricker-Kellerer is based in Munich. She has over 25 years' experience in advising clients on corporate and regulatory issues in the country. Recently she took a lead role in advising Gulfstream Aerospace in establishing a joint venture with two local Chinese aviation companies.
Teresa Ma recently relocated back to Hong Kong from Shanghai. Her broad practice encompasses public and private M&A, equity capital markets issues and other commercial matters, and she is the first port of call for numerous clients looking for advice on deals with a Chinese element. One impressed interviewee singled her out for her "appetite to do top-quality work on a consistent basis.”
Jian Fang handles a combination of inbound and outbound Chinese M&A work, and is commended by sources for his ability to “combine international experience with real Chinese expertise.” Clients appreciate his ability “to understand our issues very quickly without us having to spend a lot of time explaining. He can quickly ascertain what our concerns are and give us constructive advice which is to the point.” He was part of the team that advised Pang Da Automobile Trade Company on its agreement to make an equity investment in Swedish Automobile (the owner of Saab Automobiles).
Signalling the firm's dedication to the Asian markets, Matthew Middleditch was relocated to Hong Kong in 2012. He is the co-head of the firm's global M&A practice and brings with him over 30 years' experience of corporate experience including cross-border public and private mergers and acquisitions. He has already made a significant impression on clients who praise his “deep commercial understanding - he has seen most facets of an M&A deal so many times already, so he knows exactly how to deal with them."
Betty Yap is commended by sources as “highly efficient and personable.” As head of the China practice she has tremendous experience in structuring big ticket China-focused private equity and M&A transactions, acting for the likes of RBS and Standard Chartered.
Christopher Kelly is singled-out by an interviewee as a lawyer who is “technically strong, practical, responsive at short notice and communicates well.” According to another source, he is “up to date on the latest market practice and is a safe pair of hands whom we recommend to others.” He advised Minmetals Resources on its USD1.3 billion recommended cash takeover bid of Anvil Mining.
Simon Poh is commended by clients for his ability to “find creative ways to overcome complex issues." His notable work highlights include providing ongoing legal support to Pang Da Automobile in its EUR245 million equity investment in Swedish Automobile.
The Hong Kong group has many years of experience of cross-border corporate/M&A matters for South Korean clients and many of the team members are fluent Korean speakers. The team, along with London colleagues, advised the Korea National Oil Corporation on negotiations with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company with respect to certain oil and gas explorations.
Peter Goes is based in Linklaters' Beijing office, having been a key player in the Amsterdam corporate and M&A team for many years. Qualified to practice in the Netherlands, he is well placed to advise clients on transactions with a Dutch aspect.
Stuart Bedford recently relocated from Singapore to Hong Kong. He continues to focus on corporate matters and corporate finance. He has particular expertise in transactions in the mining and natural resources sector and received praise as a lawyer who "works incredibly hard, is always contactable and looks out for your interests."
Wolfgang Sturm is a partner in Dusseldorf and a key contact for the firm's China desk. His focus is on mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures but he also advises on general corporate, restructuring and insolvency.
One source notes that Gregory Miao is “highly effective and always does a good job.” He leads the China M&A practice and is much-admired for deftly guiding US corporations and private equity firms on their strategic investments into the PRC, and Chinese companies with their outbound investments.
Beijing-based Jon Christianson attracts unanimous praise from market sources for his track record of handling complicated and innovative corporate transactions. He is admitted in New York and Hong Kong and includes the Blackstone Group, Citi and a number of sovereign wealth groups amongst his clients.
Michael Gisser is praised for his “great depth of experience.” He has handled a host of going-private transactions, including representing E-House (China) on its acquisition of the remaining stake in China Real Estate Information Corporation, valued at approximately at USD600 million.
Head of the firm's Asia (excluding Japan) corporate practice, Jonathan Stone has advised on big-ticket corporate deals for the likes of Garuda Indonesia, CRIC and Nomura. He acted for American Express in respect of an operating agreement with Lianlian Group and on its minority equity investment in Lianlian Pay.
Peter Huang concentrates on providing top-notch advice on cross-border M&A and corporate finance transactions. He is rated by interviewees as a “commercial adviser with a very good reach of managing the needs of Chinese corporate clients.” He represented the chairman of Harbin Electric in his USD750 million purchase of the remaining stake in the company.
The corporate group at Skadden has a truly Asia-wide reach, advising on some of the largest and most notable transactions in the region. For example, in relation to India, it advised China Huaneng Group on its acquisition of a stake in InterGen from GMR Infrastructure (India). The team also assisted Indosat with the USD519 million sale and leaseback of telecommunication towers to Tower Bersama Infrastructure in Indonesia, and represented Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in relation to the acquisition by the IFC of a stake in the Rizal in the Philippines.
Neil Hyman is one of the most respected corporate practitioners in Hong Kong and is singled out by market sources as the go-to lawyer for Hong Kong-focused public M&A. He advised on a number of significant matters in the past year, including representing Diageo on its mandatory tender offer for the shares in Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed Sichuan ShuiJingFang.
Benita Yu's multifaceted practice encompasses M&A, joint ventures, and debt and equity offerings. Her impressive workload includes acting as lead partner representing Alibaba.com on its proposed privatisation and withdrawal of its listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Jason Webber is commended for being “helpful and approachable, he takes our comments on board and can find viable solutions.” He has extensive experience advising in relation to the requirements of the Hong Kong regulatory authorities and governmental bodies. His clients range from MTR, the Hong Kong mass transit railway operator to JPMorgan and Oxford Asset Management.
David Watkins relocated from London to Hong Kong in August 2011, and has hit the ground running. One interviewee revealed: “I would recommend David to anyone looking to use external counsel. He is incredibly clear, with a good understanding of what a client wants, is extremely hands-on and very comfortable in leading negotiations.” He spent two years on the Takeovers and Mergers Panel in London and most recently has advised CIMB Group on certain acquisitions of Asian businesses from RBS.
Chief representative of the Beijing office, Lisa Chung has a wealth of corporate and corporate finance experience. Some of her clients include Swire Pacific, HAECO, SmarTone and Wing Tai Properties.
Padraig Cronin was based in Hong Kong from 2007 until 2011, when he relocated to the London office. He maintains a reputation amongst peers for his M&A work involving both public and private companies and includes international corporates such as Diageo among his clients.
Mark Roppel is held in high esteem by his clients who value him as “a professional and precise lawyer who provides an excellent and quality service.” He advised Jinchuan on its proposed acquisition of companies in the Philippines which hold the rights to explore and develop nickel ore deposits.
Victor Ho splits his time between the firm's Shanghai and Beijing offices, and has a wealth of experience of PRC-focused deals. In addition to transactional matters, he also has the ability to provide advice on the challenging regulatory components which are associated with big-ticket M&A deals.
Richard Kim is head of the China real estate practice and works with a range of clients including private equity houses, financial institutions and corporates on a wide array of mandates, many of which are cross-border mergers and acquisitions. He is qualified in New South Wales (Australia) and England and Wales.
Hong Kong-based counsel David Kuo is identified as a “positive, hard-working and responsive” lawyer. According to another interviewee he is “efficient and customer focused.” Most recently, he has been acting on significant cross-border acquisitions.
This firm has a pan-Asian practice, which includes transactional expertise relating to South Korea and the Philippines. Based in Hong Kong as a foreign registered lawyer, Walter Son spearheads the team’s South Korea practice and specialises in 144A/Reg S transactions. Clients and peers hold him in high regard, describing him as “an experienced and personable lawyer who stays calm and composed.” One client remarked “he is knowledgeable about current issues and shows a practicality and commercial sense that only comes with long experience.”
Luxembourg-qualified Nicolas Papavoine is a registered foreign lawyer in Hong Kong. He advises clients on funds, banking and corporate issues involving Luxembourg law.
Hong Kong-based Cheung Yuk Tong stands out for being “very experienced and commercial, which was very useful during the negotiation process. He certainly has good interpersonal skills.” He frequently acts on some of the most complex and big-ticket deals for the firm including advising natural gas operator China Gas in relation to a USD2.15 billion unsolicited proposed offer made by Sinopec and ENN Energy.
With a particular focus on high-profile M&A and foreign direct investment matters, Marco Marazzi advised AXA on the disposal of a 15.6% stake in Taikang Life to Goldman Sachs and GIC in a deal valued at USD1.2 billion.
Howard Wu is an expert in PRC deals, especially those which relate to major projects and IT. He is part of the team representing Disney in its USD3.6 billion joint venture with the Shanghai Shendi Group.
Tracy Wut is highlighted by one source for having “a cross-cultural and a multi-jurisdictional understanding which I find useful," adding "she is one of the few lawyers I have used who has strong PRC law knowledge and experience.”
Dorothea Koo ticks all the boxes as a “knowledgeable, approachable and customer-focused” lawyer. She was recently part of the team that represented Sims Metal Management Dragon Holdings and Sims Metal Management in its purchase of up to 20% of Chiho-Tiande Group, the mixed metal recycling company.
Beijing-based Bee Chun Boo is acknowledged by market observers as “a very strong legal practitioner with an excellent business sense. She is very well versed in outbound M&A related to China.” Her particular specialism lies in the energy sector.
In addition to the firm's global network of offices, the Hong Kong office is home to a South Korea foreign desk offering a range of expertise to clients wishing to do business in that country. Of particular note is Won Lee who is especially known for handling outbound infrastructure development projects.
Frankfurt partner Christian Atzler is an expert on China-outbound investment transactions having spent three years practising in the Hong Kong and Shanghai offices. He recently acted on behalf of Karl Schlecht Familienstiftung in relation to the sale of Putzmeister Group to the Chinese company Sany Heavy Industry.
Beijing-based Howard Zhang is “responsive, reliable and clearly knows what he is doing,” say impressed clients. He handles all aspects of M&A, private equity portfolio investments, buyouts, joint ventures and strategic investment transactions.
Mark Lehmkuhler remains busy advising on cross-border public and private M&A, private equity and on the growing trend of take-private transactions of US-listed Chinese corporates. He is “very effective in head-to-head negotiations with other firms and principals, and finds very creative solutions to the difficult aspects of deals."
Described by market commentators as “uber-commercial,” William Barron has amassed nearly three decades of experience advising on global corporate transactions. Prized by one source for his “peerless client-service mentality,” he remains a first port of call for prominent clients including Sinopec, Merrill Lynch and China Construction Bank.
This effective group has India, Philippines and Korean experts operating from the firm's Hong Kong base. One of its many highlight matters was assisting the financial advisers to Digitel, a Philippines telecom company on the acquisition of a USD1.7 billion stake in the company by the Philippines Long Distance Telephone Company.
Focusing on pan-Asian and US-focused M&A, Kirtee Kapoor has experience handling India-related transactions. He is also singled out for his client service: “He will bend over backwards to accommodate us whenever he can. He is one of the most available lawyers we work with, he is incredibly gracious and practical, understands all of the issues and can separate and explain what we should care about from what is less important.” Kapoor leads the firm's India practice from Hong Kong.
Promoted to partner in July 2011, Miranda So is held in high esteem by interviewees, one of whom said: “China deals can throw up many novel issues and she is very effective at dealing with these matters. She is incredibly commercial and I would have no hesitation in recommending her to others.”
Eugene Gregor is based in Hong Kong but has expertise in the Philippines and Korean markets. His experience in the Korean market makes him a top choice for US clients. In the past year he advised Citi, Credit Suisse and others on a USD300 million debt offering by Korea Finance Corporation.
Managing partner of the Greater China practice, Andrew Tortoishell is respected for his multi-faceted practice which incorporates M&A, corporate restructuring and corporate finance.
Beijing-based Karen Ip is a noted expert in PRC-related M&A and private equity investment. She is praised for her “fluid style of communication, she is responsive and to the point with her answers.”
Gary Lock has amassed an impressive client following, including the likes of Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Fosun International.
Tommy Tong advises clients on the full range of commercial transactions, including public and private takeovers and acquisitions, private equity, equity capital markets and restructurings. He took the lead role representing Samling Strategic on the USD406 million triple privatisation of Samling Global, Lingui Developments and Glenealy Plantations (Malaya).
“Obviously a lawyer of very high quality,” Jason Sung is further praised by sources for offering “strong client service and very accurate advice.” He has extensive experience advising clients on both corporate and capital markets matters in relation to Hong Kong and the PRC.
Working together with the London office, the team here handles a large amount of India corporate work. For example, the group advised Tata Communications on its provision of international connectivity to a Smart City in Guangzhou and on regulatory and licensing issues in Hong Kong. Nimi Patel leads the India desk from London; a key contact in Hong Kong is Alex Aitken.
Damien Bailey has extensive experience advising Chinese and other regional TMT companies. Subsequent to his change of location to Sydney, he has advised long-standing client China Telecom with respect to its international commercial transactions.
The "best lawyer for questions about listing rules," Nicholas Norris, attracts glowing praise from interviewees. Clients say that he “gives you the confidence that you are in good hands. He is always willing to take our call just so we can bounce ideas off him.” "He is incredibly calm in tricky situations and a good person to have on your side during negotiations,” another interviewee pointed out. He is representing Citi, as financial adviser, on Sinopec's and Energy Holdings’s USD2 billion joint voluntary cash offer for China Gas Holdings.
David Zhang is “in the know, practical and experienced.” A seasoned player in the market, he continues to take the lead on big-ticket deals, including representing NASDAQ-listed Tudou Holdings on its proposed merger with Youku, in a deal that would combine two of the biggest players in the Chinese online video market. He is also rated for his ability to “always consider the full range of a client's practical requirements when he provides his advice.”
Jeanette Chan spearheads the practice and splits her time between the Beijing and Hong Kong offices. In another highly active year she remains occupied in a central role on some of the team's most significant deals. She represented Goldman Sachs in its capacity as financial adviser to Legendary Entertainment in its joint venture with PRC film conglomerate Huayi Brothers International.
Especially active in private equity matters, John Lange earns glowing praise for his ability to handle some of the region's most sophisticated and challenging transactions. He also has a particular focus on media and tech deals.
"Efficient and co-operative” Beijing-based Lee Edwards impresses clients with his leadership on deals, and his “unique ability to link the Western style of thinking with the Chinese view on a transaction.” He recently advised the European subsidiary of a Shanghai-based company on its USD473 million acquisition of a mechanical engineering group.
Clients of Paul Strecker are impressed with his negotiation skills in particular, as they note: “We felt much more comfortable when he was with us at the table. He helped to successfully negotiate some of the key commercial points in our favour.” As head of the Asia M&A group he has notable experience in take-private transactions, hostile acquisitions of public and private companies, and private equity and leveraged buyouts.
Colin Law is head of the Hong Kong law practice, and handles a mix of M&A and corporate finance transactions. Clients appreciate his responsiveness and proactive attitude, as one source notes: “He can be reached at any time of the day. Also, he does not just answer your questions but goes a step further and directs you to different alternatives and opinions.”
The firm has an active India practice, which handles a range of in-bound and out-bound work from across its international network. In Hong Kong, sources praise Sidharth Bhasin for his commitment and quick turnaround times. He was part of the team advising Fairfax Financial Holdings on the USD150 million acquisition of a majority stake in Thomas Cook (India) by its subsidiary Fairbridge Capital.
The firm's Asia-wide practice also includes expertise in relation to South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea.
Douglas Markel elicits unequivocally high praise from market observers for his top-notch PRC knowledge. He recently advised Home Inns & Hotels Management on its acquisition of Motel 168 in a deal valued at USD470 million.
Hong Kong-based Celia Lam remains active playing a central role in the team's representation of state-owned enterprises and multinational corporates on the full range of M&A and equity capital markets transactions.
The "diligent and smart” Luo Shaolin advises on M&A, foreign direct investment, private equity and securities transactions. In a recent highlight, he represented Sequoia Capital China Fund and Goldman Sachs in relation to their USD45 million investment in Novast Holdings.
Kathryn King Sudol earns glowing praise from interviewees, one of whom says she is “knowledgeable and professional with great team-working skills.” According to another source she is as “sharp as a whistle, very driven and knows how to protect her clients' interests.” She acted for the Hop Hing Group on its acquisition of the restaurant chain Summerfield Profits.
This team has a substantial South Korean offering, which has been further bolstered by a new office in Seoul. It is best known for its capital markets practice, although it also handles a range of corporate and commercial matters, including M&A and private equity investments. The team is co-led by Jin-Hyuk Park and Youngjin Sohn and consists of more than ten fee earners.
Counsel Kristina Kang specialises in debt listing for a variety of Korean companies. Sources particularly praise her deal-execution skills. With her extensive experience in capital markets transactions, she counts a variety of corporates, government entities and investment banks as clients, including Korea Life Insurance, SK Telecom and Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Jin-Hyuk Park co-heads the firm's Korea practice. He led the team in advising a consortium of banks as purchasers on Hyundai's USD500 million notes listing on the Korea and London stock exchanges.
Patrick Naughton was previously based in Hong Kong before relocating to the firm's New York office. He has been recommended by peers for his "solid work, commercial and reasonable approach."
Michael DeSombre comes highly recommended by interviewees for his prowess in the corporate and private equity space. His ability to handle a broad spectrum of M&A matters across mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the region generally, ensures that he receives instructions from significant clients. He assisted Goldman Sachs in its acquisition of a 4.78% stake in the Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia.
Beijing-based Wei Chun heads the firm's China practice. She was part of the international team which advised a consortium comprising Sinopec and ENN Energy on a proposed USD2.2 billion voluntary general offer for China Gas Holdings
Ng Kay Ian joined the team in 2011 as part of the launch of the Hong Kong law practice. He is described as “sharp, client-focused and responsive. He clearly has a lot of experience in the Hong Kong takeover space and has provided many valuable insights and ideas for us to consider during the process."
William Chua remains occupied with a wide array of work, reflective of his broad practice. He handles some of the team's largest deals, including representing Goldman Sachs as financial adviser in Guangzhou Automobile Group's acquisition of GAC Changfeng Motor.
Before heading the Australian practice, Robert Chu was stationed in the firm's Beijing and Hong Kong offices. Over the years he has built considerable experience representing major Chinese clients from various sectors on capital raising transactions.
Akiko Mikumo is "valued as a trusted adviser," say clients, who add that she is “solution-oriented, efficient and responsive.” She advised the special committee of the board of directors of Shanda Interactive Entertainment in relation to its USD2.3 billion going-private merger.
Clients say Steven Xiang “understands our needs and invests time in fostering the relationship. He has been an invaluable resource on breakthrough business opportunities in China.” He advises on M&A, private equity investments, joint ventures and general commercial matters, and had a busy year advising on several large deals.
Henry Ong led the team representing WLR China Energy Infrastructure Fund on several investments in HK-listed Huaneng Renewables. He was also lead counsel to MGM Resorts International on a number of matters including a USD1.5 billion IPO of MGM China Holdings on the HKSE.
Shanghai-based Anthony Wang was part of the team which represented Lion Capital as the selling sponsor in the GBP1.2 billion sale of a controlling stake in Weetabix Food to Bright Food. With hands-on experience of structuring deals in the USA and the PRC, he frequently plays a core role on complex M&A, private equity, venture capital and capital markets transactions.
Splitting her time between the Hong Kong and Shanghai offices, Seah Suat Eng has carved out an impressive and wide-ranging practice which encompasses corporate, commercial, banking and securities matters.
Hong Kong is one of the main bases for the firm's India practice. The group typically acts for corporates and private equity companies on in-bound investment, as well as acting for Indian companies investing overseas.
Beijing-based Huang Ling joined the firm from Shearman & Sterling in May 2012. As a testament to her strong understanding of the legal intricacies and commercial drivers of cross-border M&A, private equity and foreign direct investment transactions, she advises clients in diverse sectors including media, leisure and entertainment, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals.
Rising star Michael Preston continues to impress interviewees with his wide-ranging commercial expertise. According to one source, “he demonstrated excellent communication skills when dealing with our team and the team on the opposite side of the table. His logical thinking, commercial sense and patience helped us to strike the deal quite smoothly.”
The team's Asia-wide practice includes South Korea and Philippines-related experts. Korean work is handled in conjunction with the foreign legal consultant office which opened in South Korea in October 2012.
Sang Jin Han is recognised by peers for his expertise in cross-border equity stakes matters. He has a focus upon Korea-related matters, and recently advised Korea Investment Corporation on its minority equity investments in Frac Tech International and Noble Group.
Connie Chu is an associate in the Hong Kong office who focuses on corporate and financial transactions. Prior to joining the firm, she practised in the Philippines and is fluent in Tagalog.
New York partner Filip Moerman spent almost seven years practising at the firm's offices in Hong Kong and Beijing. He advises clients on corporate/M&A and private equity transactions. In particular, Moerman frequently represented European and American banks with regard to their investments in Chinese enterprises.
Corporate finance and M&A expert, Stanley Chow was part of the team advising dual-listed City Telecom (HK), on the proposed sale of its Hong Kong broadband network and IDD businesses to Metropolitan Light Company.
Michael Liu has over 25 years of experience in handling sophisticated corporate finance and M&A transactions. He is the office managing partner in Hong Kong and was part of the team advising Bright Food Group in relation to its USD516 million acquisition from CHAMP Private Equity of a 75% stake in Manassen Foods.
Managing partner of the Shanghai office Rowland Cheng is singled out as being “very attentive and detail oriented. I appreciate his professional commitment to our requirements.” His practice incorporates M&A, private equity and venture investments, and joint ventures for overseas financial institutions and strategic investors, as well as Chinese corporations.
Kenneth Chan is praised for providing “very solid advice in a timely manner. His advice is flexible, thorough and easily understandable.” His focus lies in mergers and acquisitions, corporate structuring and restructuring, particularly in the PRC.
“Active and strong practitioner” Timothy Gardner is well regarded by peers and clients. He is a “very skilled M&A lawyer. As an attorney, he is thoughtful, detail-oriented and measured in his responses.”
Hong Kong-based Cathy Yeung remains in high demand for her excellent understanding of corporate and commercial law matters. She has a wealth of experience handling PRC-related transactions encompassing joint ventures, M&A and equity offerings, as well as advising on a host of regulatory matters.
The firm demonstrates expertise handling South Korea and Philippines-related corporate M&A, projects and finance work.
Thomas Chou's practice incorporates complex cross-border M&A, joint-ventures, private equity and corporate restructurings, among other areas. He is singled out by clients as being “extremely client-focused, smart and diligent. When I send him work I know he will get it done in time and done to a very high standard.”
Shanghai-based Gregory Tan attracts strong praise from his clientele as “someone who will give you useful advice and not something which is a mere textbook answer.” He advised Krosaki Harima in its purchase of a 51% stake in Tata Refractories.
Charles Comey spent 16 years working in China and Japan before transferring back to Silicon Valley. He represented New Enterprise Associates and Oak Investment Partners in forming a strategic alliance between their portfolio company Lianlian Group and American Express.
David Stannard is the firm's global head of corporate. He handles a range of commercial matters, including public company takeover and merger transactions, IPOs, joint ventures, securities offerings and private equity investments.
Jonathan Perry is equally adept at handling international M&A and equity capital market transactions. He is notably skilled at structuring deals within the financial services and mining sector. He is currently representing IRC on a variety of deals including its purchase of the remaining 51% of the Bolshoi Seym Deposit owned by LLC Uralmining.
The India practice at Norton Rose is run across a number of the firm's offices globally. In highlights, a team in Shanghai advised Jiangsu Tiangong Tools in relation to setting up a joint venture in India.
Head of the China business group Anthony Latimer has expertise in the agricultural, energy, transportation and infrastructure industries. He regularly advises Chinese clients on outbound investments in other regional countries from his base in Sydney.
Brisbane partner Robert Milbourne has previously worked in China. He has a corporate and M&A practice with a specialism in the energy and natural resources sector.
Gigi Cheah advises clients in multiple regional jurisdictions, including China, India and Indonesia. She has expertise in technology and intellectual property licensing and transfers, as well as cross-border outsourcing matters. One commentator remarked: “She is a very good TMT lawyer who has managed to build a good team around her.” Cheah is now based in Singapore having previously practised in Hong Kong.
Acclaimed David Livdahl's practice incorporates international M&A and China-related arbitration and dispute resolution matters.
David Wang is chair of the Shanghai office and handles private equity and venture capital investments, and cross-border acquisitions. He advised China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment on the formation of a joint venture with DreamWorks Animation SKG, to form Oriental DreamWorks.
Neil Torpey is well versed in representing corporate clients in securities offerings, M&A, leveraged buyouts, and private equity and venture capital transactions. He has a solid understanding of the complexities of structuring deals in Asia, the USA, Latin America and Europe.
The group's Philippines desk has some ten years of experience dealing with corporate, corporate finance and capital markets matters, particularly in the energy sector. The team includes Philippine and US-qualified lawyers who are experienced in advising in both the public and private sectors, and whose clients include Global Gaming Philippines and Puregold Price Club, which is the second largest retailer in the Philippines.
Even more well established, the South Korea practice boasts some 25 years' experience. There are more than ten practitioners in the region operating from Hong Kong and the newly formed Seoul office. They handle a range of cross-border corporate/M&A and joint venture deals, such as acting for Dong-A Pharmaceutical on its collaborative partnership with the Japanese pharmaceutical company, Meiji Seika Pharma.
Jong Han Kim is based in the Seoul office, and is highlighted by peers for his corporate and real estate expertise.
Daniel Kim is a partner in the Seoul office with a specialism in equity and LBOs. He played a key role advising Samsung Electronics on a number of transactions.
Shanghai-based John Leary continues to work on corporate mandates in the healthcare, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy sectors. He has diverse expertise, having practised in Los Angeles, Bangkok, Hanoi, Prague, Mexico City and Palo Alto.
Li Xiaoming heads the China practice and is adept at both financing and M&A transactions. He is a first port of call for Chinese banks requiring cutting-edge and commercial advice.
Vivian Tsoi impresses interviewees: “She led the negotiations and understood the intricate nature of culture and business in China. Her insight was crucial." She has built up a particularly strong reputation for assisting China-based clients on their outbound investments across the globe.
Hamburg partner Christian Jacobs specialises in mergers and acquisitions. He gained much experience working in the Asia-Pacific region for a decade. Currently he heads the firm's China desk.
Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (International Firms): China
Head of the Asia corporate practice, Mabel Lui is admitted to practice in Hong Kong, England and Wales, New York, Singapore and Victoria (Australia).
US-qualified John Shi works from the firm's Beijing office. He has nearly 15 years of experience of working in China, and has a loyal following of clients from the mining, manufacturing, oil and gas, financial services, aviation and pharmaceuticals sectors.
The firm has a dedicated South Korea practice, which is run from China, in conjunction with colleagues in Tokyo, the US and UK. This includes Hong Kong-based Jae Chul Lee who is the head of DLA Piper's Korea practice, having worked in Korea as well as the UK and USA. His varied experience includes assisting Korean multinationals with cross-border transactions such as joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions. He brings to the team an established reputation and expertise in corporate finance, as well as familiarity in working with financial institution clients.
The Hong Kong office also handles India-related corporate and capital markets transactions.
Jamie Barr counts among his clients Goldman Sachs, which he advised on the acquisition of an equity interest in a Mongolian bank.
As a testament to his extensive corporate expertise, Andrew McGinty was part of the international team advising News Corporation on its definitive agreement with ESPN to purchase 50% of the latter's equity interest in ESPN STAR Sports. This will lead to News Corporation's full ownership of the company.
Tim Fletcher remains a highly active member of the team, leading on a significant number of prominent deals, including representing Aviva in connection with its life insurance joint venture with Vietinbank.
John Kao wins high praise from interviewees. One enthusiastic client describes him as "a hard-nosed negotiator who is tough with a purpose and not just tough to be obstructive. He is practical and results-oriented and able to put the noise aside in order to get parties to work on the issues that are blocking a deal from going forward.” He is the first port of call for “major transactions that are non-plain vanilla and with a strategic element,” another enthused.
Carson Wen's expertise extends to advising on deals in highly regulated industries including TMT, new energy, natural resources and pharmaceuticals. He is currently assisting African Iron Ore Group with its formation of a consortium of Chinese infrastructure companies, with the strategy of building and developing infrastructure in Africa for the export of mineral deposits.
A recent arrival from Allen & Overy, Chris Swift is distinguished by one source as “a leading public takeover lawyer in Asia.” His busy practice revolves around corporate finance, corporate restructurings, private equity and M&A.
Ross Keene joined Jones Day from Allens in early 2013. He attracts praise from sources for his impressive command of Mandarin, as he is able to “speak, understand and negotiate with the Chinese party. This really ensures a smooth and speedy negotiation process.”
Hong Kong-based Conrad Chan's practice incorporates public and private M&A, private equity transactions and joint ventures. In a recent highlight he represented Palm Landscape Architecture in its acquisition of a 30% interest in a Hong Kong-based landscaping company.
Martyn Huckerby's varied practice incorporates transactional and regulatory matters, and encompasses M&A and competition law. He was part of the team which advised MetLife on its acquisition of American Life Insurance Company from American International Group.
Senior partner Elaine Lo heads the firm's Asia practice. She has a diverse practice and is able to advise on foreign direct investment into China, cross-border M&A, joint venture agreements, technology transfers and corporate restructurings.
Hannah Ha has extensive experience of handling PRC-related corporate transactions. She is praised for her dedication: “She was devoted to the project, took care of all the details and worked within deadlines.” She was lead counsel for Cathay Pacific Airways in establishing a joint venture with Shanghai Airport Authority and other parties in connection with ground-handling services.
Martin Robertson provides "good advice, can be firm with a client and a tough negotiator with the other party when needed," enthused appreciative interviewees. He heads the China corporate/M&A department and has much experience of cross-border mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, acting for both local and international blue-chip clients.
Described as “pragmatic, commercial and patient,” Stephen Bottomley's extensive corporate know-how means that he handles an impressive range of M&A, business restructurings and reorganisations and private equity investments. He advised the partners of David Langdon & Seah on the merger of the company with Arcadis.
Henry Wang is applauded as a “sharp lawyer, who is fantastic at giving practical and usable advice, a skill which is not easy to find.” He has decades of experience of cross-border transactions and his clients include Chinese companies wishing to expand and invest outside of China.
Making his debut in the table is senior associate Eugene Wong, who was singled out by one source for the “good job he did in the engine room for us, co-ordinating a very complicated legal process.” He was part of the team that advised the partners of Davis Langdon & Seah on their merger with Arcadis, the international consultancy, design, engineering and management services company.
Anthony Root is the firm's managing partner for China and head of its Asia corporate practice. He is rated for his expertise in the M&A space, drawing praise as a “seasoned and very experienced lawyer.” He was part of the team that advised Baring Private Equity in the complex structuring of its USD50 million investment in Ambow Education.
The “professional and responsible” Edward Sun primarily focuses on private equity and cross-border M&A transactions. He represented AVIC International Holding Corporation on its USD186 million acquisition of Teledyne Continental Motors and Teledyne Mattituck Services, subsidiaries of Teledyne Technologies.
Fred Kinmonth heads the firm's Asia corporate and commercial practice and has a broad range of expertise which extends to private equity, public and private M&A and capital markets. Representative of his standing in the market, he counts amongst his clients multinational corporates, investment banks, private equity investors, and the Hong Kong and Shanghai governments.
Barbara Mok has a masterful understanding of the Greater China M&A market and is commended for her diligence. She represented Yuexiu Transport Infrastructure on its CNY1.06 billion acquisition of the entire equity interest in Henan Ruibeika Industrial Company.
Head of Melbourne's mining and resources group, Marcus Best has been advising Chinese clients from the sector over the past year including Taurus Minerals regarding a successful upstream takeover of Kalashari Minerals.
Sophie Chen is dually qualified to practise in Australia and China. Now based in Sydney, she was involved in the firm's advice on Gloucester Coal's merger with Yancoal Australia.
New Zealand special counsel Alison Lindsay is prominent in telecoms mandates, and recently acted for 2degrees and Pacific Fibre.
Hong Kong-based senior consultant Geraldine Johns-Putra was part of the team advising Cyrium Technologies on a joint venture with two Chinese companies to manufacture and sell solar cells.
Walker Wallace is based in Shanghai and is a fluent Mandarin speaker. He has a diverse practice, advising private equity and corporate clients looking to make investments in media and entertainment, consumer products, retail, healthcare and real estate. He recently acted for Taubman Centers on its 90% acquisition of a controlling interest in Beijing-based real estate consultancy TCBL Consulting.
Rated by clients for his responsiveness, Beijing-based David Roberts handles private equity, venture capital, capital markets and M&A work. He led on advising Global Education & Technology Group on its USD294 million sale to Pearson.
California-based practitioner Howard Chao has had a key role in many California-China transactions over the years.
Sam Zucker has a strong practice which focuses on life sciences and technology industries. His expertise in the China market is reflected in the recent representation of an international consortium's investment in a local media entertainment company. Zucker is based in Silicon Valley.
Century City partner Eric Zabinski is known for his strong negotiation skills. He continues to represent venture capitalists, private equity and public company clients in various high-profile China-related transactions.
Chief representative of the Shanghai office, Tang Zhengyu is commended as “one of the best legal minds in the market" and as a "professional, experienced and dedicated” lawyer. His clients include such significant names as Akzo Noble, Global Environment Fund, GlaxoSmithKline, BorgWarner and Berkley Capital.
Constance Choy is singled out by one client as “technically strong with very solid experience, she understands management teams in mainland Chinese companies.” She recently acted for Global Digital Creations Holdings in the sale of its 80% stake in GDC Technology to a consortium of investors led by Carlye Asia Growth Partners, valued at HKD600 million.
This firm advises on all aspects of acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures. Besides Hong Kong and Greater China, it has expertise acting in mandates involving Mongolia and other South-East Asian jurisdictions. The team has assisted China National Offshore Oil with joint venture matters in connection with its petroleum exploration project in Papua New Guinea. Hong Kong partner David Wenger is a key contact for the firm's corporate/M&A practice. Kate Axup is another key contact in Beijing.
Jeffrey Blount has a wealth of experience, gained since the early 1990s. He wins much praise as a “strong problem solver with a good business mind. He not only provides us with the legal advice but his business sense on the deals. He really has the right combination of experience and knowledge of local Chinese law.”
Zhang Jie is “extremely knowledgeable of Chinese laws, regulations and administrative practices. He is very good at keeping us up to date on current changes.” He is also commended for his responsiveness: “When I need an answer quickly or an agreement drafted quickly he has never let me down. His quick turnaround has been very helpful and we have benefited greatly.”
Rising star Ji Leyu is prized by market commentators as a skilful corporate practitioner. He is “so fabulous, he is one of the main reasons we have enjoyed success in China. I would really recommend him to anyone looking for a lawyer in China,” said one happy client.
David Boitout handles a wide variety of China-related work from the Paris office. Recent matters include advising Air Liquide on the establishment of an EUR85 million joint venture with Sinopec.
Also based in Paris, Stéphane Vernay previously worked at the Beijing office for 12 years. He continues to advise Chinese clients and within the corporate space, works with energy, transportation and utilities companies on tax matters.
Seung Chong joined the team in June 2012 from Proskauer Rose and has over 20 years of operating in either the PRC or Hong Kong. He commands considerable respect for his extensive corporate practice.
The firm has a dedicated South Korea practice which is run primarily out of the Hong Kong and Tokyo offices. Recent experience has included corporate matters in the natural resources, TMT, pharmaceuticals, life sciences and green energy sectors.
Michael Haworth is joint head of the real estate team in Tokyo. He is praised by clients for his "good feel for what points are possible and negotiable, and what should be passed on." He frequently advises Chinese entities on real estate work in Japan. He was joint lead partner on the firm's advice to Prudential Mortgage Capital on the refinancing of a publicly listed J-REIT with three loans which totalled USD141 million.
Shanghai-based partner Arthur Mok is praised by interviewees for being able “not only to spot the legal issues, but resolve them and find good solutions.” He was the lead partner advising Sunrise Duty Free, which is based in Beijing and Shanghai, on the sale of a controlling interest in the company to Boyu Capital.
Drawing on its strong international network and depth of transactional experience in China, this firm offers a quality service to its clients. It is singled out particularly for matters tied to the energy space, and recent clients include Rosneft, KMPG China, LyondellBassel and Liberty Global International. Russell Wilkinson and Jeff Layman are key contacts for the Hong Kong and Beijing M&A practices.
Thomas Britt is described by one interviewee as “highly experienced, insightful and proactive." He recently led the team advising Melco PBL Entertainment on its purchase of an interest in a Macau joint venture, valued at USD360 million. He is also noted for his experience handling India-related work, and recently advised Asia Mezzanine Partners on its investment in India's SFO Technologies.
The well-respected Denise Jong has been a partner at the firm since 1998. She is fluent in Mandarin and several Chinese dialects, which gives her PRC-focused practice an added edge. She handles M&A, takeovers, privatisations and joint ventures, and IPOs and securities offerings.
Hong Kong-based Tom Deegan is head of the Asia corporate practice and is the main contact for the firm. Reflective of its growing activity in Greater China, Simmons & Simmons launched its Beijing office in late 2011, adding to its existing Hong Kong and Shanghai bases. This group is distinguished by its strong sector focus, providing specialised advice in the highly regulated areas of financial services, TMT, life sciences and energy and infrastructure.
Lai Voon Keat is also acclaimed by sources for his ability to combine practical business advice with technical know how.
Based in Hong Kong, James Cuclis is the global head of the corporate department and co-ordinator of the Asia practice. He leads the India desk which represented Reliance Industries on its USD7.2 billion sale to BP of a stake in oil and gas production contracts which Reliance operates in India.
Robert Ogilvy Watson is the managing partner of the Hong Kong office. He focuses on supporting financial institutions and corporates on the full spectrum of commercial transactions including cross-border M&A and private equity deals. Clients value his dedication and personal involvement on deals and his "knowledge of Hong Kong listing rules, which is essential in completing transactions.”
Justin Shmith in Melbourne served as regional practice head during his three-year tenure in the firm's Shanghai office. He has extensive experience advising Chinese state-owned enterprises and private companies alike.
Helen Gavin-Brown is a partner in the corporate group in London. Having worked in the Hong Kong office in the past, she has a background in negotiating transactions for companies active in Asia.
Basil Hwang is the managing partner of the Hong Kong office.
David Cho has considerable expertise in South Korea. He is active in a range of cross-border deals, particularly relating to equity investments. He recently represented SK Technology Innovation and SK Innovation in their USD180 million investment in HelioVolt.
Head of the Hong Kong corporate practice, Stephen Mok is described as a “smart lawyer who acts quickly to clients' requests.” With over two decades of corporate and corporate finance experience he has represented the likes of BOCI Asia, New World China Land, and Beijing Capital International Airport.
Managing partner Yingxi Fu-Tomlinson is singled out as a “responsive, hard-working lawyer who identifies issues quickly and is a strong advocate in negotiations." Another source was impressed as she is "highly dedicated, tireless in her efforts and makes sound judgements.”
Managing partner of the Shanghai office, Edward Epstein is described as a “capable and responsive” counsel. He receives numerous mandates from clients within the manufacturing sector, advising on M&A, real estate development, antitrust and foreign direct investment.
Hong Kong-based Olivia Lee is head of the Greater China practice. She is rated for advising on complicated cross-border M&A deals, and her ability to understand the core issues and commercial drivers involved in completing deals in the region.
Brinton Scott joined the practice from Clyde & Co in mid-2012. He works with Fortune 500 companies and private corporates on M&A, foreign direct investment, reorganisations and joint ventures. He also speaks Mandarin.
Shanghai-based Omar Puertas has diverse experience, having previously practised in New York and Barcelona. He has a growing reputation in this area.
Geert Potjewijd is the key contact for the firm's China practice. As one of a few full-service Netherlands firms in China, this De Brauw office is often instructed by Dutch clients seeking to make inbound investments into Asia, and Chinese clients looking to invest in Europe.
Manuel Torres Salazar is the head of the practice, having relocated to China from Spain in 2012. He advises on cross-border corporate transactions and has represented clients in direct investment and M&A affairs related to Chinese SOEs. He has a large base of European clients and is a favourite of Spanish corporates, including Gestamp, Telepizza and Gadea. He advised the latter on its acquisition of a China-based pharmaceutical company.
Julian Yu is a key associate at the practice and provides “professional and precise advice and always keeps to deadlines.” Yu was part of the team advising Telepizza, one of the largest pizza chains in the world, on the establishment of a wholly foreign owned trading enterprise in China and the development of China-based stores.
Francisco Soler Caballero assisted with the establishment of the Shanghai office and served as managing partner for six years. He has since moved to Valencia where he is a partner in the commercial department.
Corporate practitioner Ulf Ohrling has over 25 years of legal experience and has been operating in China since 2004. Clients say that he is "good at explaining the complex Asian business environment," and also say that "having been in China for a long time he knows all the ins and outs of the local legal complexities, which are not obvious to someone with less experience.”
Bernd-Uwe Stucken joined the team from Salans in the third quarter of 2012. He has particular expertise of working with German companies on their investments into China, particularly those in the export and manufacturing sectors.
The team has a region-wide practice, with substantial experience of the Philippine market, particularly in relation to projects and infrastructure matters. It has over twenty years of experience in this jurisdiction, and works with the Philippine government as well as leading banks such as the IFC and ADB. In highlights, the team advised PSALM on the privatisation of the Ilijan Natural Gas Fired Power Plant, a transaction valued at about USD8760 million. John Yeap is a key contact in relation to Philippine matters.
Head of the Asian practice, Juan Martín Perrotto is praised as “highly professional, very experienced and deeply knowledgeable." Another source adds: "He has the necessary cultural sensitivity to deal with pioneer projects in China and he provides added value with his strong sense of business targets.” Perrotto is qualified in Spain and Argentina and practised in Argentina for ten years and Spain for eight. He co-ordinates work between China and Argentina for the firm.
Seasoned practitioner Lester Ross is fluent in Mandarin and is commended for his deep understanding of the workings of Chinese corporates. In addition to corporate matters, he also handles banking, project finance, energy and environmental law and capital markets issues.
Xu Tao handles both transactional and regulatory matters and advises on foreign direct investment and M&A transactions. She has previously worked with a leading US law firm for two years and as in-house counsel with a US-based pharmaceutical company.
Joseph He heads the firm's China desk from Singapore and is a partner in the corporate and capital markets departments. He has represented Keppel Telecommunications & Transport in forming a joint venture with Jilin City government to create the Sino-Singapore Jilin Food Zone International Logistics Park.
Corporate/M&A (International Firms): China (Desks Based Abroad)
This experienced China desk works in conjunction with an associate office in China, C&C Lawyers. The partners in Portugal work in conjunction with the office in China, offering the full gamut of corporate/M&A expertise together with tax and restructuring advice. Miguel Castro Pereira is a key contact for the firm's China desk in Lisbon.
Akira Moriwaki possesses in-depth knowledge of the Chinese market stemming from many years of practice in the country until 2007. During this period, he earned considerable experience representing Japanese companies entering the emerging economy. He continues to provide international trade, corporate and competition law advice.
The key partner of the firm's China desk is Xavier Andrade. Mario Navarrete and Maria Teresa Borja are two associates who possess Chinese language skills.
Sha Wang holds law qualifications from both Finland and China. She advises Chinese and international clients on M&A and general corporate affairs from the Helsinki office.
Seoul-based Hee-Gang Shin is active in IPO and block sale transactions, and earns praise from clients for his technical knowledge and his commercial approach.
This experienced Danish team liaises closely with its representative office in Shanghai, offering a full suite of corporate and M&A advice on both inbound and outbound matters. It has a strong focus on the energy sectors and serves a range of corporates from both the private and public sectors. The key contact for the firm's China practice is Rachel Cao, who is a Chinese-qualified lawyer based in the firm's Copenhagen office.
Renzo Cavalieri is the country partner for China. His membership and associations with institutions that further cultural and economic relations between China and Italy is a valuable asset to his practice. Cavalieri served as Secretary-General of the Italo-Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Milan between 1989 and 1993.
Santiago-based Sergio Díez focuses his practice on the entertainment and hospitality sectors and is particularly known for his representation of Asian clients in the local market. "He always makes decisions based on the commercial interests of his clients," enthuse sources. He heads the China desk in collaboration with Dacheng Law Offices.
Senior associate Tzu-Hsin Shen completed his legal education and training in China before practising in Chile. He is a native Mandarin speaker and works alongside Diez at the firm's China desk.
Tatsuo Murao is a registered lawyer in Japan who has established affiliated service groups in Shanghai and Hong Kong. He represents clients in corporate investments and M&A in China as well as giving tax and restructuring advice.
Key contacts include managing partner of the Beijing office Nick Beckett and managing partner of the Shanghai office Ulrike Glueck.
Stephanie Daveson and Andrew Lumsden are key partners on the firm's China desk who together offer more than 20 years of corporate/M&A and energy-related advice to their clients. This team advised Yanzhou Coal on its AUD3.5 billion acquisition of Felix Resources. Lumsden's standing is such that he has been invited to lecture on M&A at two Chinese universities.
Viviana Garcia heads the firm's Asia practice. She is fluent in Mandarin, and regularly advises the China Development Bank on its Peruvian ventures.
This firm's China desk assists junior Swedish enterprises in outbound investments into the Chinese market. It has represented corporate clients from the energy, environment and IT sectors. Stockholm partner Örian Odenbro is the key contact.
Key contacts for the global China desk are John Flanigan and Benjamin Kroymann who are based in Paris and Shanghai respectively. The practice assists clients with M&A as well as IPOs on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
The China desk at this Brazilian firm is headed by Thiago Vallandro Flores and Ricardo Sanches. The pair is described as "very responsive and sensitive to cultural differences when dealing with a Chinese client."
Directors Sin Boon Ann, Petrus Huang and Julian Kwek are key contacts for the China desk in Singapore. The team includes various China-qualified lawyers and Mandarin speakers. It further specialises in restructuring and recovery matters for Chinese corporate clients.
In Buenos Aires Silvia Karina Fiezzoni is an international trade and corporate law specialist who is fluent in Mandarin. She is the legal representative of the Municipality of Bahia Blanca in the Chinese city of Dalian.
Milan partner Stefano Beghi manages the China desk supported by Alessia Pastori and Bao Xiaoyan. They advise Chinese, Italian and European clients on outbound investments and are able to handle matters in Chinese.
Associate Anna Radjuk spent two years working in China with both a Shanghai law firm and at the legal department of a multinational corporation. She combines her German law expertise with local knowledge to advise clients in the region.
Frankfurt partner Hendrik Haag and Düsseldorf partner Christian Möeller are the principal contacts for the firm's China desk, along with senior associate Tu Changfeng. The foreign desk provides business operations and investment advice to Chinese and German companies.
Fernando Pelaez heads the China desk. The team has experience advising Chinese banks and corporations with business operations in Venezuela.
Key contacts for the firm's China practice are Ik Soo Park and Tun Hyun Cho. The team has established joint ventures and wholly foreign owned companies in China and has advised on acquisitions of interests in local companies.
Antonio Correa Meyer is a key contact for the China desk. It recently advised Sinopec on acquiring 30% of Galp Energia's Brazilian assets, in a deal valued at USD4.8 billion.
Tokyo-based lawyer Shigehiko Ishimoto is a key contact for China-related work and specialises in advising clients on investment matters in the country. He has written on the Chinese economy from a legal perspective.
Yoshio Iteya is appreciated by clients for his "excellent advice and knowledge on Chinese regulations." He has written extensively on trade and economic relations between Japan and China. He is a partner at the firm's Shanghai office.
Soichiro Uno heads the firm's China practice group. It focuses on advising Japanese companies on corporate legal matters within the Chinese jurisdiction. Satoshi Moriguchi is another key partner contact.
Germany-qualified lawyer Zhao Hui heads the China desk in Frankfurt and frequently advises Chinese clients investing in the German market. He acted on behalf of Xuchou Construction Machinery Group in acquiring a strategic interest in Schiwing Group.
Eriko Hayashi is the representative of the firm's Shanghai office. Fumi Takatsuki and Ko Matsui are key contacts for the China practice in Osaka and Tokyo respectively. The team assists clients with formulating and implementing investment, reorganisation and exit schemes. It further advises Japanese companies with operations in China on corporate governance affairs.
Lisbon partners Luis Saragga Leal and Ricardo Oliveira are key contacts for the China desk, which helps Portuguese speaking clients during their investments into China. The firm also has a partnership agreement with Chinese law firm Dacheng Law offices.
Tianshu Zheng is an admitted practitioner in China who is based in Seoul. She has experience of a range of Chinese corporate law matters and also advises on real estate and investment fund transactions.
Byoung Seon Choe spearheaded the opening of the firm's Shanghai office in 2010 and has now relocated back to Seoul. Widely respected by peers as a "very senior lawyer," he has a wide-ranging corporate practice that encompasses structured finance and M&A.
China-qualified lawyers Li Ying and Henry Tang are corporate partners who serve as principal contacts for the China practice. In the past the practice acted for an international corporation with regard to an acquisition of shares in a domestic Chinese company.
Jan Bogaert is a specialist in international transactions and corporate finance. He was previously based in Brussels, but has relocated to Hong Kong to head the firm's newly established office.
Alexander de Nerée tot Babberich worked in his own firm in Hong Kong and China for over seven years before joining Stibbe. He is qualified to practise in the Netherlands and has extensive experience advising international clients and assisting Chinese clients with investments outside of the country.
Reinaldo Ma is a co-ordinator of the firm's China practice group in Brazil. Areas of focus include corporate and M&A, foreign investments, private equity and mining. He was involved in the establishment of the China-Brazil Business Council.
Yoshifumi Akazawa and Yang Yujie in Tokyo are the firm's main China contacts. The group is well versed in Chinese-related M&A, labour laws, technology licensing, direct investment and litigation.
Tokyo based Ryo Itoga is a key partner contact for the China desk. The team handles a range of corporate M&A, litigation, international trade and anti-dumping.
Gidon Weinstock represents clients in international commercial transactions, working from his base in Tel Aviv. He has written articles on the Chinese M&A market.
This practice has represented various Chinese clients throughout the SEE and CEE regions, providing regulatory and legal advice. Christian Hoenig is a partner in Vienna and is a key contact.
Corporate/M&A (International Firms): China (Foreign Desks)
The Hong Kong-based India desk is expert in capital markets as well as corporate/M&A. With more than a decade of experience, the team services Indian corporates doing business in the USA as well as assisting US clients investing into India. Yash Rana leads the India practice group from the Hong Kong Office. His experience spans the Asia region and encompasses private equity and venture capital investments as well as other corporate transactions.
Gloria Liu-Luster recently joined Goodwin Procter LLP in Hong Kong. She continues to focus on cross-border M&A, private equity and venture capital, and foreign direct investment into China.
joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP from Norton Rose, bringing with him a blend of M&A and investment funds expertise. Having practised across the globe in Hong Kong, New York, London and Dubai he has commanded a loyal client following with one acknowledging him as “one of my favourite lawyers. I view him more as a business partner than legal practitioner. He is commercial and his advice extends beyond the technicalities of the law. As a result he offers significant value and his advice is critical."
leads Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's Hong Kong and Asia practice. His practice centres around public and private M&A, and joint ventures including hostile transactions and stock and asset purchases. He represented Houlihan Lokey in its disposal of a number of assets held by City Telecom to CVC Capital in a deal valued at USD644 million.
Head of the corporate department at Bingham McCutchen LLP, Matthew Puhar
has a proven record of advising on challenging public and private corporate transactions. Clients appreciate his commercial understanding: "He is the type of lawyer who understands that clients will need to make certain compromises to get a deal done. He can help us to fine-tune and structure these compromises to achieve what we want but still minimize our legal risk.”
joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP from Reed Smith Richards Butler in late 2011. He continues to focus on sophisticated and challenging cross-border M&A transactions, joint ventures, private equity and corporate finance transactions. He is respected as an “exceptionally strong lawyer who we like to use when we have complicated M&A matters. What really makes him stand out is that he is a top regulatory and contracts lawyer.”
is another new addition to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, joining from O'Melveny & Myers. With over 20 years of China-related experience, he handles a wide range of corporate matters. He is commended by interviewees for his “rich experience of dealing with Chinese counterparties. He is also very hands-on and efficient.”
Clients highlight Joseph Barbeau
of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP for his "incredibly practical outlook on the business side."
He had previously practised for 12 years in Hong Kong and now divides his time between Hong Kong and Palo Alto. Barbeau advised the shareholders of Wyse Technology in relation to its sale to Dell.
of Proskauer Rose is appreciated by one source as being “diligent and helpful. He helped me to think through all of the angles related to our transactions.”
In a recent highlight he acted for Publicis Groupe in its acquisition of Luminous EMC.
At the same firm, Yuval Tal
is “smart and capable and very thorough,”
say clients. He is head of the Hong Kong office and advises on cross-border M&A, securities offerings and real estate finance.
of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP is the founding partner of the firm's office in Beijing. He advises Canadian companies on their Chinese operations, and acts for Chinese entities on North American financings and acquisitions.
of CCA Advogados assists Portuguese clients in China on corporate M&A matters, international contrct and negotiations. Marco Nicolini
of Chiomenti Studio Legale is a key player in the firm's Hong Kong office. He is well known for handling corporate, IT and IP matters involving both China and Italy.
of CWL Partners in association with Nixon Peabody LLP and Hylands Law Firm handles international and domestic taxation as well as a broad range of corporate matters including cross-border licensing, M&A and corporate financings.
Rodrigo do Val Ferreira
of Felsberg, Pedretti e Mannrich Advogados e Consultores Legais is the managing partner of the firm's Shangai office and is regularly sought after to advise on cross-border transactions between Asia and Latin America.
of Loyens & Loeff is a leading figure in the department. He divides his time between Luxembourg and Hong Kong, where he advises clients from the Asia-Pacific region on their activities in Luxembourg.
of NCTM Studio Legale Associato is based in the firm's Shanghai office, where he handles M&A, private equity and international trade issues. He co-ordinates work between China and Italy.
Maria Paz Angeles Carale
of Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles is located in the firm's Hong Kong office. She has experience in cross-border corporate transactions and financing, particularly matters between the Philippines and China.
of Squire Sanders has a wide-ranging Israel practice which includes representing a flavours and fragrance company in its first Chinese investment. Shim is the managing partner of the Beijing office.
Foreign Experts (Based Abroad)
Prior to joining Advocatus LLP in Singapore, Jasmine Quek
practised in the Beijing office of DLA Piper for two years. Her practice centres on both domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions. She specialises additionally in IT and IP transactions.
of A&L Goodbody is based in Ireland and previously practised in Hong Kong. He assisted with the establishment of the firm's Chinese lawyers programme which is designed to strengthen legal advice co-ordination between the two countries.
Senior partner Pedro Muñoz
of Arias & Muñoz's San Jose office assists the team with corporate matters with a real estate angle. He is currently advising the Jack Parker Corporation on the construction and development of high-end projects in Costa Rica's coastal areas.
In Brazil, Rafael D'Avila Dutra
of Barbosa, Müssnich & Aragão is lauded for his "deep knowledge of corporate law and great experience of handling M&A transactions"
and is particularly sought after for Chinese-Brazilian transactions.
of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP is an international corporate and commercial law specialist who previously practised in Shanghai and Beijing. He possesses experience in setting up joint ventures for investors and industry clients in China. Bissett is based in Waterloo, Ontario.
Sources agree that John Strowger
of Chapman Tripp in Auckland is renowned as “having one of the best reputations in the market.”
He has over 20 years of experience in working with foreign investors and leads the firm's China desk with support from other practice areas. He continues to represent Chinese corporate clients regarding outbound investments.
is senior of counsel at Covington & Burling LLP's Silicon Valley office. She maintains an active practice and in the past year has overseen a number of deals in the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, market sources comment that she is well connected with Chinese entrepreneurs based in the USA.
Toronto-based partner Patricia Olasker
of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP is a member of the China practice group. She recently advised ICBC on its 70% acquisition of the Canadian operating arm of the Bank of East Asia.
of De Wolf & Partners is a senior associate in Luxembourg. He recently assisted key Chinese industrial players with the implementation of investment platforms for opportunities in Europe and America.
Senior solicitor Tracy Tomsett
of DLA Phillips Fox is on long-term secondment to the Wellington office. She is dually qualified to practise in Hong Kong and England and Wales. Tomsett is fluent in Cantonese and speaks conversational Mandarin.
Before joining DLA Piper LLP (US), Paul Chen
was the managing partner of Dewey & LeBoeuf's Hong Kong office. In the past Chen acted for China Aviation in its acquisition of the US-based personal aircraft manufacturer Cirrus Aircraft. He also has expertise in mergers and acquisitions in the insurance sector.
Cristóbal Barrios Mac-Clure
of Eluchans y Cia in Chile is a corporate lawyer who has previously worked in China and is currently a member of the firm's Asian department.
Seung Ryong Oh
of Lee & Ko in Seoul is a partner at the Beijing office. He has assisted Korean enterprises and their Chinese subsidiaries with the establishment of joint ventures and incorporations.
Clients compliment Andrew Colosimo
of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP as a "very bright and extremely conscientious advocate."
He specialises in private equity transactions and, more broadly, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures. Based in New York, he has spent time in the firm's Hong Kong office.
of Imery Urdaneta Calleja Itriago & Flamarique heads the corporate department. "He has an acute sense of the in-house counsel's budget needs as well as a healthy appreciation for what international lawyers find difficult to understand in Venezuela,"
say sources. Urdaneta is also heavily involved with China-related work having represented China Railway Group and China Development Bank over the past year. He is based in Caracas, Venezuela.
of McMillan LLP divides his time between Vancouver and Hong Kong. As head of the China practice group, he has experience representing clients on securities matters on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. He is also known for his work in the mining sector.
Thi Que Vu
of LCT Lawyers in Vietnam has handled China-related matters throughout her career, having practised at the China desk of various firms before joining LCT Lawyers. She recently acted for Guangzhou Electric Power Design Institution on formulating a USD1.9 million construction contract for a jetty in association with Duyen Hai Thermal Power Plant.
of Lester Aldridge LLP in Bouremouth has experience in advising SME clients on corporate transactional work in China. He acted on behalf of a UK company on the start-up of a wholly foreign owned enterprise in China.
of Lobo & de Rizzo Advogados heads the China desk and has been based in Brazil for over a decade. He further holds the position of Secretary-General of the Brazil-China Chamber of Economic Development.
of Loyens & Loeff in Rotterdam specialises in corporate transactions, with clients in the TMT, private equity and transport sectors. As a member of the firm's China desk, he is also considered a go-to adviser for Chinese investors.
Cologne-based capital markets lawyer Thomas Weidlich
of Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH has had an active year assisting German corporations such as Kinghero AG with their IPOs in Hong Kong and mainland China. Clients commend him as a "proactive, thorough and solid"
of NCTM Studio Legale Associato in Milan has a practice that encompasses corporate/M&A, commercial law, international business transactions, communications and technologies. He heads the firm's China desk. Recent instructions include assisting Biogen Idec Group with the acquisition of 50% of Biogen-Dompé's share capital from Dompé Farmaceutici.
Zhang Cui Ping
of Nishimura & Asahi is a China-qualified lawyer and a foreign registered lawyer in Japan. Currently based in Tokyo, she specialises in general corporate and M&A including international transactions.
Winnie Pang Xiaofang
of Noronha Advogados is a director of the firm's Chinese legal department in London. She is also a key contact for the international tax department.
Cologne-based Gunnar Knorr
of Oppenhoff & Partner Rechtsanwälte is known for his "responsiveness, as well as providing actionable and practical advice."
He leads the China desk as a tax specialist advising on mergers and acquisitions.
of Pinilla, González & Prieto's Bogota office handles corporate law and acquisitions and was previously legal director for corporate relations of a major Asian IT company in Latin America. He is a member of the Colombo-China council.
Edgar del Valle Monge
of Quiros Abogados Central Law heads the China desk and acts for clients on in-bound investments into Costa Rica.
Josep Herrero Nicolás
of Roca Junyent is a leading partner of the firm's Asian desk. He works from his base in Barcelona and has written extensively on economic trends and the legal system in China.
of Advokatfirmaet Schjødt in Olso "is an exceptional M&A lawyer - cool, calm and very collected"
and "has a fantastic mind for seeing the legal opportunities."
He assisted Norway Travel Holding and FSN Capital on the sale of VIA Travel to a US-listed company.
(Qin Xiaomei) of Souza, Cescon, Barrieu & Flesch Advogados heads the firm's Asian desk. Qin's background and regional knowledge enable her to advise Chinese clients investing in Brazil.
Yap Wai Ming
of Stamford Law Corporation in Singapore is commended by clients for his quick turnaround time and ability to provide "clarity and solutions."
He recently advised Mira International Holdings on its USD862 million restructuring.
of Sun & Partners is a Chinese law consultant based in Toronto. He was a senior partner at JunHe Law offices in Beijing between 2002 and 2009. Wang focuses on assisting foreign companies in establishing holding companies in China. Past clients include Fujitsu, Daikin and LG.
Munich partner Michael-Florian Ranft
founded Taylor Wessing's Beijing and Shanghai offices. He is currently the head of the China group and continues to focus on the technology industry with regards to contractual and corporate matters.
of Taylor Wessing LLP is dually qualified to practise in China and the UK. She has been representing Chinese clients who are investing in the UK including commercial banks and other corporations with operations in the country. Liu is located in London.
of UB & Co in Santiago provides legal advice on franchising, distribution, international trade platforms and export-processing activities. Both Chinese and Latin American companies have sought his representation on outbound investments in the two regions.
of Vischer advises on inbound and outbound investments between China and Switzerland. Though based in Zurich, she is also a Chinese-qualified lawyer. Trade law is a further area of focus in her practice.
of Zellermayer, Pelossof & Co., Advocates practised in local law offices in Beijing before relocating to Tel Aviv, where he heads the firm's China desk. He advises on private equity, mergers and acquisitions and venture capital transactions.