Legal news in brief

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DWF expands its team

DWF has hired Ben Constance from Taylor Wessing and corporate partner Nasir Dao-Pkm Abdul, both in the firm’s Singapore office.

Constance is an authority on cross-border M&A, joint ventures, private equity, and corporate technology, and is tasked with strategizing the Singapore office’s business growth in Southeast Asia. Abdul joins from PwC Legal, and is a corporate and M&A specialist with over 20 years’ experience of advising and representing international clients.

Withers assists Lever Style IPO

Withers Hong Kong office successfully acted for Lever Style Corporation listing on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Lever Style provides end-to-end supply chain solutions for notable brands across the US, Europe and APAC, such as All Saints, Boden, Theory, Vince, and Vineyard Vines.

The Sponsor of the global offering was Altus Capital, with Crosby Securities as sole global co-ordinator. Joint bookrunners and joint lead managers included Crosby Securities, China Toghai Securities, Shanxi Securities International and CMBC Securities Company.

IMF Bentham hires manager

IMF Bentham has recruited dispute financier Ruth Stackpool-Moore as an investment manager, joining a new team combining IMF Bentham and Omni Bridgeway, making it the largest on-the-ground team in the Asian region and a leading global dispute financier.

Stackpool-Moore, based in Singapore, will be primarily responsible for sourcing, assessing and managing funded cases throughout Asia, including arbitration, litigation and insolvency claims. Prior to joining IMF Bentham, Stackpool-Moore was managing director for an exclusive broker to a global litigation funder in the Asia-Pacific region.

New Linklaters banking partner

In a move to further strengthen its regional restructuring and insolvency practice, Linklaters has hired Andrew Payne as a partner in its Asia Banking practice. Payne, an expert in debt restructuring, including ancillary distressed M&A/investment, joins the firm from DLA Piper Singapore.

He has almost a decade of experience with the Asia restructuring market, is qualified in both Hong Kong and UK law, and will be based in the firm’s Singapore office, but integrated with the team in Hong Kong.

Hastings boosts markets team

Chaobo Fan, accomplished in securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions and corporate matters has joined Paul Hastings as partner in its Hong Kong capital markets practice. Previously at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Latham & Watkins, he has extensive experience advising on prominent equity capital markets transactions, and particularly with representing Chinese companies on their Hong Kong Stock Exchange listings.

Walkers hires new partner

Walkers has named offshore specialist in debt capital markets/structured finance and private equity, Nick Davies, as a partner in the firm’s global finance and corporate group. His recruitment boosts Walkers ability to advise on Cayman, BVI and Bermuda law.

The hiring complements the recent addition of two Bermuda associates, Shannon Dyer and Ben Green to the Hong Kong office, providing clients in Asia and the Middle East with time-zone friendly Bermuda advice and execution support.

Baker advises on Mizuho takeover

Baker & McKenzie Tokyo (a Gaikokuho joint enterprise) advised Mizuho Bank on the financing of Z Holdings Corporation’s takeover bid for ZOZO. The bid closed on 13 November 2019 with acceptances for 152,952,900 shares of ZOZO’s common stock at JPY2,620 (US$24) per share. As a result of the successful bid, ZOZO became a consolidated subsidiary of Z Holdings. Shinichiro Kitamura led the Baker McKenzie team on the deal, with the assistance of senior associates Emiko Horikawa and Satoshi Abe, and associates Tomohiro Horiguchi and Yuki Todaka.

Nishimura advises on acquisition

Nishimura & Asahi counselled Money Forward, a Japanese provider of cloud-based accounting solutions, on its acquisition of Smartcamp, a start-up developing and operating one of Japan’s largest SaaS (software as a service) marketing platforms. The Nishimura & Asahi team advising Money Forward was led by partners Hiroshi Uchima and Atsushi Mizushima.

Paul Hastings in Hanwha IPO

Paul Hastings advised Hanwha Systems on its US$345 million global offering and listing on the Korea Exchange. Hanwha Systems is a manufacturer of defence electronics products and a provider of information technology services in Korea.

The deal was the second-largest IPO in South Korea in 2019. The Paul Hastings team was led by Seoul corporate partners Kim Dong-chul and Daniel Kim, with support from Seoul attorney Park Hae-in and associate Albert Nah.

Harneys finishes two HK IPOs

Offshore law firm Harneys’ Hong Kong office completed the IPOs of China Feihe, one of the largest IPOs in Hong Kong this year raising in excess of US$855 million, and Sprocomm Intelligence Limited’s IPO on the same day.

China Feihe is the country’s largest infant formula milk producer, and the Harneys team was led by partner Raymond Ng and legal manager Nicholas Fong, and assisted by legal manager Denise Chan and associate Annie Liu. Sprocomm designs, manufactures and sells mobile phones across Asia. It raised about US$16 million from the IPO, and the firm’s team was led by partner Raymond Ng and associate Annie Liu, assisted by legal managers Denise Chan and Nicholas Fong.

KWM advises ACC on offering

King & Wood Mallesons advised AAC Technologies Holdings on its first-time issuance of US$388 million 3% senior notes due 2024. AAC Technologies is one of the world’s leading solutions providers for smart devices. KWM acted for AAC Technologies as its international counsel. The team was led by Hong Kong partners Hao Zhou and Michael Lu, with support from Malisa Leung.

Linklaters aids windfarm lenders

Linklaters advised the export credit agencies (ECAs) and common lenders on the NT$62.4 billion (US$2 billion) project financing of the 376MW Formosa 2 offshore wind project off the coast of Miaoli in Taiwan.

The transaction was led by James McLaren, partner and head of Linklaters’ Asia Green Energy Group, based in Hong Kong. He was supported by managing associate Ying Fu and associate Suzy Su in Hong Kong, construction expert and counsel Kevin Crombie in Singapore, counsel Andrew Penfold in London, partner Lee Joo-hee in Seoul and partner Stephen Le Vesconte in Paris.

Maples counsel advise CIFI

Maples & Calder Hong Kong acted as Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands legal counsel to CIFI Holdings (Group) on its issuance of US$500 million 6.45% guaranteed senior notes due 2024. The Maples team comprised partner Lorraine Pao and associate Irena Wu. Sidley Austin acted as US and Hong Kong counsel to the Issuer and Davis Polk & Wardwell acted as US counsel to HSBC as the sole global co-ordinator and lead manager.

DFDL recruits Thailand partner

DFDL hired Gert Meersman as regional senior legal adviser to its energy, mining & infrastructure practice group based in Bangkok. Meersman has more than 20 years of professional experience in the energy sector and in Southeast Asian markets.

Clifford Chance in bot pilot

Clifford Chance has commenced the pilot phase of its robotics training programme, Automation Academy through Create+65, the firm’s LegalTech innovation lab, with plans to expand across the Asia-Pacific and create fully functional legal bots. The aim is to ensure all trainees have a commercial understanding of how legal documents can be automated by breaking down the fear that many legal graduates and lawyers have around technology.

Orrick advises on MeMeLive buy

Orrick counselled M17 Group, a social networking entertainment group headquartered in Taipei, on its acquisition of MeMe Live, a live streaming platform controlled by FunPlus, a Beijing-based social gaming developer. M17 provides interactive entertainment services and operates media for developed Asian markets including Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. The Orrick team was led by Hong Kong of counsel William Ho, Shanghai partner Jeffrey Sun and San Francisco partner Richard Smith, supported by Hong Kong associates Eva Ying and Joe Scheu, and Shanghai consultant Frank Huang.

Laureate sells India business

Netherlands-based Global University Systems (GUS) has acquired the education and related support services business of US-based Laureate Education in India for US$150 million. The acquisition includes a University Grants Commission-recognized university and another academic institution, and constitutes one of the largest buyouts in the private education space globally.

Talwar Thakore & Associates (TT&A) advised Global University Systems on the deal structure and conducted extensive due diligence on the target entities, analyzing the regulatory framework governing societies and educational institutions in India. The firm was represented by partner Feroz Dubash, managing associate Anurag Shrivastav and associates Stuti Johri, Anshita Chauhan and Nida Bagadia.