Deal Watch - 4/15/2010


Posted on April 16, 2010 at 5:04 AM

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has advised Chinese company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group on its $1.8bn acquisition of Volvo from the Ford Motor Company. This is a landmark deal as it is the first time a major car manufacturer has been taken over by a Chinese company and is also the biggest takeover of a luxury brand so far in the country. Freshfields’s advising team was led by London corporate partner Chris Bown, Jack Wang in Beijing, Teresa Ko in Hong Kong and Tim Wilkins in New York. IP partner Avril Martindale was also involved. Ford consulted Hogan & Hartson, with European head of M&A William Curlin leading the team.

Japanese ‘big four’ firms Nishimura & Asahi and Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, along with Wall Street firms Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Sullivan & Cromwell have advised Japanese insurer Dai-ichi Life with its IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The IPO, which raised US$18.4 billion, is the world’s largest IPO in two years and also the largest in Japan since the US$18.4 billion IPO of NTT DoCoMo over a decade ago. Nishimura & Asahi’s, Japanese counsel for Dai-ichi Life, team was led by Yasutaka Nishikori, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s, international counsel for Dai-ichi Life, team was led by Alan Cannon. The managers were assisted by Sullivan & Cromwell and Anderson Mori & Tomotsune who acted as international counsel and Japanese counsel, respectively. Sullivan & Cromwell’s team was led by Izumi Akai, and Anderson Mori & Tomotsune’s team was led by Hironori Shibata.

Davis Polk & Wardwell, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Lee & Ko, and Shin & Kim were involved with the global IPO by Korean Life Insurance on Korea Exchange. Korean Life Insurance is the oldest life insurance company in Korea and is also the second-largest one. The deal was the largest Korean IPO since 2006 and the second largest among all IPOs in Korea, including dual-listed IPOs. Davis Polk & Wardwell and Shin & Kim represented the underwriters, while Lee & Ko and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett represented Korea Life Insurance. Lawyer Eugene Gregor was involved from Davis Polk & Wardwell, and Kristina Kang, Soo K Chung, and Youngjin Sohn were involved from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Baker & McKenzie has assisted EQT Greater China with its acquisition of a co-controlling stake in a discount house-ware retail chain in Hong Kong, Japan Home Centre. EQT now has a 40% ownership in JHC while the two founders, Peter Lau and Lisa Ngai, have together retained a 60% stake. The advising team was led by Cheung Yuk Tong and Tracy Wut.

White & Case has acted as Hong Kong counsel for Pacific Century Group with respect to its acquisition of AIG’s investment advisory and asset management business. Lawyers from New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, London and Palo Alto, California were involved on the cross-border deal, with lawyers Jeremy Leifer, John Hartley, and Sharon Hartline leading the team.

Conyers Dill & Pearman, Grandall Legal Group, Jingtian & Gongcheng, Lu, Lai & Li Solicitors, Morrison & Foerster, and Shearman & Sterling were all involved with the Ruinian International Hong Kong IPO. Conyers Dill & Pearman, Grandall Legal Group, Lu, Lai & Li Solicitors, and Shearman & Sterling acted as counsel to issuer, while Jingtian & Gongcheng and Morrison & Foerster acted as counsel to the underwriters.

Blake Dawson is representing PetroChina with its potential acquisition of Arrow Energy, an Australian company. If the deal goes through, it would be PetroChina’s first major acquisition in Australia. Justin Schmith is leading the advising team. Arrow Energy is being advised by Gilbert + Tobin, and its team is headed by Garry Besson and Gary Lawler.

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