By Jennifer Khoo
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Akin Gump partners specializing in global trade, Stephen Kho and Tatman Savio, have spoken on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in an article by The Asian Lawyer, “TPP’s Uncertain Prospects Weigh on Asia-based Lawyers,” which noted that if the United States were to not ratify the TPP, it would render the trade deal a failure.
Savio said that a failed TPP would be a lost opportunity for Vietnam and Malaysia, given that neither country has a bilateral trade agreement with the United States, but also noted that the impact on countries with which there are existing trade deals, such as Australia and Singapore, would be less.
“China’s regional strength may be emboldened, if the TPP is not ratified,” Savio points out. “At a minimum, China may capture opportunities and relationships that the US might have otherwise leveraged to the extent that TPP had entered into force.”
However, Kho believes, “The Asia region will continue to be a dynamic area for future global trade, and the setback of TPP non-implementation will not change this.”
AlixPartners Hong Kong
According to a new study by AlixPartners, restaurant chains and their suppliers across the world are facing complex, often-conflicting demands from today’s evermore health- and technology-conscious consumers who are also, in many cases, more value-conscious than in recent times.
At the same time, opportunities await those in the industry who can uncover international growth opportunities, focus on the right technology and maximize supply chains to help them profit from such trends today, such as “on-the-go” dining and a growing demand for sustainable ingredients and supply practices.
The report includes a survey of 4,600 diners from nine industrialized countries – Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States (where 515 diners were surveyed). Also, more than 60 C-level executives from more than 40 different restaurant concepts based in the US (with total revenues over US$90 billion in 2015) provided their insights on international restaurant development as well as global consumer issues.
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy Hong Kong partner and Global Head of Arbitration, Matt Gearing QC has been elected as the new chairperson of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC). He will take on the role in 2017, succeeding Teresa Cheng SC who has served as HKIAC Chair since 2014.
Gearing has been actively involved with the HKIAC for a number of years and is currently an HKIAC Council member and Chair of the HKIAC’s Executive and Proceedings Committees. He also led the revision of the HKIAC Rules as head of the drafting committee.
Commenting on his election, he said, “It is a privilege and an honor to be elected Chair of the HKIAC. Teresa has done a fantastic job taking the HKIAC to a new level of success over the past three years, and I will continue to build on her great work in ensuring the HKIAC and Hong Kong continue to be a leading center of international arbitration.”
Anderson & Anderson LLP
On 26th and 27th September, Anderson and Anderson LLP presented at a two-day intellectual property rights seminar entitled, “Technical Assistance Program on Commercial Law: A Look at Intellectual Property Rights in Mongolia,” hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Mongolia, in cooperation with the US Department of Commerce and the US Embassy in Mongolia.
The two-day seminar also featured insightful presentations by international experts from the US Department of Commerce and the US Department of Justice, and case study presentations by AmCham members.
Anderson and Anderson LLP is an international law firm with over 100 years of experience since its opening in 1885. Currently, it represents clients in the US, Greater China including Hong Kong and Macao, Mongolia, India and Israel. With over twenty years of experience operating in Mongolia, the firm has worked with and represented some of the country’s biggest players in various sectors of business, both domestic and international.
Ashurst advised the joint bookrunners and lead managers, Deutsche Bank, Investec, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and UBS, in India’s first high-yield green bond issuance. The seven-year bond, in an aggregate principal amount of US$500 million, was issued by Greenko Investment Company in August earlier this year to address the financing needs of Greenko Energy Holdings’ Indian operating subsidiaries.
Greenko Group is one of the largest clean energy independent power producers in India, with more than one GW of projects across hydro, wind and thermal energy. Huge demand for the bond came in from 275 accounts from Asia (59%), US (20%), Europe/Asia (21%); clients included fund managers (89%), public sector banks (8%), insurers and private equity players (2%), and the rest from others.
With experience spanning almost 200 years, global law firm Ashurst currently have 25 offices in 15 countries, with over 400 partners and a further 1,450 lawyers working across 10 different time zones.
Baker & McKenzie
At the conclusion of its annual partner meeting held in Barcelona last month, international law firm Baker & McKenzie announced a number of changes to its leadership teams with immediate effect, including the appointment of Paul Rawlinson as the new and 15th chairman of the firm.
Gary Seib and Michael Wagner have taken over the chairing role of the firm’s Asia Pacific and North American regional councils, replacing Bruce Hambrett and Jim Holloway. The firm has also announced two new Executive Committee members: Ai Ai Wong from Singapore and Duane Webber based in Washington DC.
In addition, it was decided that a new industry group – Global Consumer Goods – will be created, and led by Alyssa Gallot-Auberger, while Fiona Carlin will be taking over as Global Chair of the firm’s Antitrust & Competition Group from Samantha Mobley; and Simone Musa will be taking over from Duane Webber to lead the firm’s Tax Group.
Bird & Bird
Bird & Bird has advised Shanghai-listed Beijing Xinwei Technology Group Co Ltd (“Xinwei”) on its acquisition of the full share capital of Space-Communication Ltd (“Spacecom”), for a consideration of US$285 million. The deal was signed on 24 August 2016.
Spacecom, an Israeli global fixed satellites operator listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, provides broadcasting and communications services through the marketing of space segments on its satellite fleet to DTH operators, TV broadcasters and programmers, government and corporate organizations including the Israeli government and VSAT network operators.
Xinwei, a Chinese conglomerate with global operations providing solutions to telecom providers, is active in the cellular communication field, equipment sales, and communication satellites. Upon completion of the transaction, which includes the need for approvals from the Israeli government and nonobjection from US government, Spacecom’s shares will be delisted from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange with it being converted to a private company fully owned by Xinwei.
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
Cadwalader successfully advised New Century Asset Management Limited, manager of the Hong Kong-listed New Century Real Estate Investment Trust (New Century REIT), on its €28.9 million (US$32 million) acquisition of Holiday Inn Eindhoven in the Netherlands. The transaction closed on 9 August 2016.
This is the first time that a Hong Kong-listed REIT successfully acquired overseas property situated outside of Greater China. The Cadwalader team was led by corporate partner Stephen Chan, and included associate Denise Tsui and trainee solicitor Jacqueline Foo, all based in Hong Kong.
Cadwalader has been advising clients in China and across the Asia- Pacific region for over a decade, providing legal services to global financial institutions and multinational companies doing business in Asia. The firm also serves Asia-based entities in their international business activities and investments into the United States and throughout the world. Cadwalader’s Hong Kong team has worked together for the past 25 years, advising on some of the most complex transactions in Hong Kong and China.
International law firm Clifford Chance was the advisor to China Merchants Securities on its US$1.4 billion IPO and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in September this year. This deal is noted to exemplify Clifford Chance’s stature as the firm of choice and a major provider of professional services for PRC securities firms’ Hong Kong IPOs.
The team was led by partners Fang Liu and Amy Lo. They were supported by consultant Xiang Tianning; senior associates Corey Zhang and Liao Yufei; associates Jennie Lau, Liu Dandan and Emma Bao; and legal assistants Catherine Zhou and Vicky Xiang.
China Merchants Securities is one of the top ten integrated securities firms in China. The lead underwriters include China Merchants Securities (HK), JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley. Clifford Chance’s Greater China team has advised on some of Hong Kong’s most significant listings. Earlier this month they advised on Postal Savings Bank of China’s US$7.4 billion IPO, the largest globally thus far for 2016 and in Hong Kong since 2010.
Davis Polk & Wardwell
Davis Polk has advised Morgan Stanley in connection with its SEC-registered global offering of €2.75 billion (US$3.04 billion) aggregate principal amount of senior notes, consisting of €1.25 billion (US$1.38 billion) floating-rate notes due 2022, and €1.5 billion (US$1.6 billion) 1.375% fixed-rate notes due 2026.
The Davis Polk corporate team included partner Christopher Schell and associate Vidal Vanhoof. The tax team included partner Po Sit and associates Andrew Smith and Mahalia Burford. Associate Colleen Blanco provided 1940 Act advice. All members of the Davis Polk team are based in the New York office.
Davis Polk (which includes Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and its associated entities) is a global law firm. For over 160 years, its lawyers have advised industry-leading companies and global financial institutions on their most challenging legal and business matters. It currently has approximately 900 lawyers in offices in New York, Menlo Park in California, Washington DC, São Paulo, London, Paris, Madrid, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo.
Deacons has advised The Wharf (Holdings) Limited on the sale of its telecoms unit, Wharf T&T Limited, to private equity firms MBK Partners and TPG, for a total consideration of HK$9.5 billion in cash. Wharf T&T is Hong Kong’s largest purely enterprise-focused telecoms service provider, with an extensive fiber optic network covering approximately 90 percent of the commercial market. The sale of Wharf T&T is a result of Wharf’s strategic review of its communication, media and entertainment (CME) business segment. After the sale, Wharf’s CME business will primarily consist of i-CABLE Communications Limited, a pay-tv platform. The transaction is expected to complete on or before November 23 2016. Wharf is a subsidiary of Wheelock and Company Limited, and the companies are expected to gain HK$4.5 billion and HK$7.4 billion, respectively, from the sale of the telecoms business. This is the largest M&A deal in the Hong Kong telecommunications industry since the acquisition of CSL New World Mobility Limited by HKT Limited in 2014.
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP unveiled in September the launch of the Business Integrity Group – a multidisciplinary practice to help clients manage the risks of 21st century business.
The Business Integrity Group combines Debevoise’s market-leading expertise in public international law, anti-corruption, corporate investigations, investment management, high-stakes transactions, international disputes, human rights and environmental law to develop integrated solutions to complex corporate responsibility challenges. These challenges are legal, financial and reputational – managing the array of integrity risks efficiently depends on robust systems of calibrated policies, structured due diligence and targeted remediation.
The Business Integrity Group provides structured, risk-sensitive guidance on leading integrity standards, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, UK Bribery Act, UK Modern Slavery Act, and US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as well as human trafficking regulations.
Each of these standards affects corporate governance systems, M&A due diligence, non-financial disclosure, compliance risk assessments, complex investigations and high-profile disputes.
A Manhattan federal judge has awarded Dechert LLP’s pro bono client, Mashud Rana, US$922,597 from the former Bangladeshi consul general in New York and his wife.
Monirul Islam and Fahima Tashina Prova brought Rana, a young man from Bangladesh, to the United States in September 2012 to work as a domestic servant, promising him a monthly salary of US$3,000 and days off. After arriving in the United States, according to Rana’s claims, Islam and Prova confiscated his passport and immigration documents and reneged on all their promises.
A damages hearing was held on September 7, 2016, at which Rana, his physician Dr Allison Schachter and clinical psychologist Dr Chitra Raghavan testified regarding the physical and mental distress that Rana has suffered as a result of his experience.
Based on the testimony and evidence at this hearing, the Court ordered Islam and Prova to pay US$922,597 to Rana for violations under New York and federal labor laws, breach of contract and emotional distress.
DFDL Myanmar Partner and Managing Director William D Greenlee, Jr and DFDL Cambodia Deputy Head of Corporate and Commercial Practice Group and the regional China Desk Robin Teow have jointly published an article entitled “Cambodia and Myanmar to ride ‘OBOR’ wave” in the July 2016 edition of the Asia Business Law Journal.
One Belt One Road (OBOR) is an initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 to address the country’s overcapacity and structural weaknesses, and redirect capital for regional infrastructure development.
It is noted in the article that infrastructure projects in ASEAN member states, including Cambodia and Myanmar, are emerging as major beneficiaries of the OBOR strategy, with Chinese investors accounting for 17 percent of all infrastructure investment across the region in 2015, according to Citibank.
Due to Cambodia’s and Myanmar’s strategic locations, strong natural resource bases and, more importantly, close relations with China, the two countries will continue to attract a high proportion of China’s outbound investment, most of which is expected to be directed towards large-scale infrastructure projects.
Global law firm DLA Piper has advised the Australian Football League (AFL) on the landmark acquisition of Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium. The deal involved the acquisition of the operating business at Etihad Stadium, the freehold ownership of the stadium, acquisition finance, and the unwinding of several original development arrangements.
The DLA Piper team was led by Melbourne-based Corporate partner David Hallam, together with senior associate Dylan Burke, solicitor Alex Moores from the Corporate team, Real Estate partner Arthur Chong, Finance & Projects partner Monique Stella, special counsel Lisa Hornsby and solicitor Isabella Barnes.
“The purchase is a significant investment in AFL’s future – delivering a major financial boost for their tenant clubs, as well as offering a range of other revenue streams for the AFL,” David Hallam said. It is expected the AFL will take control of the 53,000-seat stadium early next month. The AFL will continue to operate Etihad Stadium as a multi-purpose venue, hosting other major sports and a range of entertainment events.
Dorsey & Whitney
International law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP said in August that it has achieved ISO 27001 certification of its information security management system. ISO 27001 certification provides Dorsey clients with third-party validation that the firm’s information security policies, processes, and controls meet international standards for best practices.
“Protecting client data and confidential information is as important to Dorsey as it is to our clients. To that end, Dorsey has attained ISO 27001 certification to demonstrate the firm’s commitment to maintaining the security of client information,” says Ken Jorgensen, Dorsey & Whitney Ethics Partner.
Dorsey’s Chief Information Officer Paul Miller says, “We are pleased to reach this important information security milestone. ISO 27001 is a globally recognized standard for information security management requiring that an organization show a systematic and ongoing approach to managing confidential information. To maintain certification, you must show continuous improvement over time. It’s more than just a point-in-time assessment.”
In July this year, the Hong Kong office of Eversheds advised Datang International Power Generation Co, Ltd (Datang Power) on the disposal of its coal-to-chemical business with net assets of RMB7,132 million (US$ 1 billion).
Datang Power is one of the largest state-owned power producers in China and is also one of a handful of Chinese companies to be triple listed in Hong Kong, Shanghai and London. The group is principally engaged in the construction and operation of power plants, the sale of electricity and thermal power, maintenance of power equipment and provision of power related technical services.
The disposal is designed to optimize the company’s asset structure while increasing the focus on its principal business of power generation. The restructure comes at a time when regulations governing the Chinese power sector are undergoing dramatic changes, including official approval for direct trading between power generators and industrial and commercial users.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (‘Freshfields’) has advised a consortium of 14 bookrunners on the US$1.8 billion global offering of China Resources Pharmaceutical Group Limited (CR Pharmaceutical), acting as US and Hong Kong counsel to the underwriters of the deal. The shares commenced trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 28 October 2016.
The initial offering contained 1,543,141,500 shares at a price of HK$9.1 per share and is the second largest IPO to take place in Hong Kong during 2016.
CR Pharmaceutical, an integrated pharmaceutical company, is the second largest pharmaceutical manufacturer and pharmaceutical distributor in China, and the largest manufacturer of OTC drugs in China. It also has three listed subsidiaries in the PRC. The group primarily plans to use the net proceeds to make strategic acquisitions globally, as well as improving its existing logistics network.
The Freshfields team was led by corporate partners Teresa Ko, Calvin Lai and Richard Wang.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
In March, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher represented AP Renewables, a unit of Philippine energy company Aboitiz Power, in the issuance of a landmark climate bond worth P10.7 billion (US$225 million) for the Tiwi-MakBan geothermal power facilities.
Certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative, the project bond is the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region and marks the first time that such a bond was issued for a single project in an emerging market. In addition, it is the first local currency project bond in the Philippine power sector and the first credit-enhanced project bond in Southeast Asia (other than Malaysia) since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
The project bond model could serve as a template for similar future activity in the region, as it allows issuers in developing Asian countries to tap into domestic debt capital markets for projects that would otherwise be ineligible for financing. It also allows more investors to gain exposure to emerging market infrastructure.
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP
Global law firm Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP has recently highlighted the Terrorism Art and Antiquity Revenue Prevention Act of 2016 (TAAR Act) which was introduced to Congress earlier for ratification.
The proposed legislation is intended to prevent ISIS stolen antiquities from being trafficked into the United States. The new law would also have broad impact on the criminal enforcement of all cultural property regardless of origin.
The TAAR proposes amendments to the National Stolen Property Act which is a criminal statute that makes it a crime to transport, possess or sell stolen property. The proposed legislation would, if passed, allow for “cultural property” with a value of US$50 or more “that has been removed or excavated in violation of local law considered to be stolen.” As written, this would apply to cultural property of any origin and would not be limited to antiquities from Iraq or Syria.
Under this new law, any person who simply possesses or transports an artifact knowing it had been removed or excavated contrary to local law can be prosecuted.
Hogan Lovells, together with Innovate Finance and EY, last month published a new report titled Blockchain, DLT and the Capital Markets Journey: Navigating the Legal and Regulatory Landscape.
The document provides an overview of how blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (DLT) fit into the current regulatory and legal regimes governing capital markets. According to the report, regulation needs to keep pace with evolving technologies, or risk hindering innovation.
It recommends principles-based guidance, rather than set requirements, to enable much needed flexibility. Regulators are urged to foster a supportive environment by consulting on key issues such as authorizations, transitions and security of DLT and to promote a culture of collaboration with the industry.
The report further outlines that Brexit creates an opportunity to implement legislation more accommodating of DLT in a way that allows the UK to be more flexible than under EU law.
Sushma Jobanputra, Partner-in-Charge of Jones Day’s Singapore office, was quoted in an article for The Peak, a magazine for Singapore’s entrepreneurs, professionals and C-suite executives, addressing the challenges for successful women of balancing work and family.
“In my experience, men are much less concerned about asking for help than women. We feel that if we ask for help, we will be seen to be incompetent. I think it takes confidence to say that there is too much and I need help. Women need to be confident enough to ask for help. Sometimes good enough is good enough,” Jobanputra said in the interview.
Jones Day is a global law firm with 44 offices in major centers of business and finance throughout the world. Jones Day provides significant legal representation for almost half of the Fortune 500, Fortune Global 500, and FT Global 500.
K&L Gates LLP has selected Michael S Caccese and James R Segerdahl to succeed Peter J Kalis in the positions of Chairman of the Management Committee and Global Managing Partner, respectively. Caccese and Segerdahl will assume their responsibilities on 1st March 2017, upon the conclusion of Kalis’ term in February, and will work with him to ensure a smooth transition in leadership during the coming months.
Caccese, who will serve as a non-executive Chairman of the Management Committee, currently holds the position of Vice Chairman for Practice Management and is a global leader of the firm’s financial services practice. Caccese served in both in-house and governmental capacities prior to his joining K&L Gates’ Boston office in 2001.
As Global Managing Partner, Segerdahl will serve as the firm’s chief executive officer. For the past decade, Segerdahl has acted as K&L Gates’ General Counsel and Secretary to the Management Committee, with the additional duties for the firm as Vice Chairman in 2013.
Keesal Young & Logan LLP
U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers this month published its 2017 “Best Law Firms” rankings in which Keesal, Young & Logan (KYL) has been named to several National and Metropolitan Tier lists.
The 2017 rankings are based on the highest number of participating firms and highest number of client ballots on record. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top 4 percent of practicing attorneys in the US. Over 10,000 attorneys provided more than 800,000 law firm assessments, and over 10,000 clients provided more than 90,000 evaluations.
Ranked firms, presented in tiers, are listed on a national and/or metropolitan scale. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for its abilities, its professionalism and its integrity
Kobre & Kim LLP
Michael S Kim, co-founder of Kobre & Kim LLP and a member of the Seoul-based Government Enforcement Defense team, led a discussion at the International Bar Association’s November Asia Pacific Regional Forum on anti-corruption compliance and enforcement in South Korea.
The panel focused on the rise of whistleblowers in the workplace, whistleblower protections laws in various jurisdictions, and how companies should handle whistleblower reports. Topics of the conference included recent trends and updates on anti-corruption regulatory and enforcement environment in the AP region, M&A and anti-corruption due diligence including third party risks, and the rise of whistleblowers and implications to corporations – managing your own employees.
There was also discussion on how to set up effective compliance programs and robust controls, update on the latest US FCPA investigations and changing landscapes of global cooperation, and whether it is possible to draw a fine line between hospitality and bribery in terms of gift and entertainment practices.
Linklaters Tokyo has received a Gold Award as part of the Pride Index prescribed by non-profit LGBT organization Work With Pride (wwP). Linklaters is one of only three law firms in Japan to receive an award, and the only internationally headquartered global law firm.
The result was announced at the wwP Conference held in Tokyo on October 26th. “We are delighted to receive the Gold Award from Work With Pride. It’s an important acknowledgement of our commitment to create a workplace where everyone feels welcome,” says John Maxwell, Japan Managing Partner, Linklaters.
The aim of the Pride Index is to evaluate how accomplished companies in Japan are in terms of their LGBT policies and initiatives. The Pride Index looks at five elements including policy, representation, inspiration, development, and engagement/empowerment. “We value diversity of all kinds, whether in sexual orientation, gender, faiths or beliefs. We believe workplace diversity leads to a more vibrant and innovative firm,” says Kozo Sasaki, Partner, Linklaters.
Loeb & Loeb LLP
Loeb & Loeb LLP represented the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys in an important case affecting the parental rights of same-sex couples.
The New York State Court of Appeals on August 30 held in Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C., and in the companion case Estrellita A. v. Jennifer L.D., that non-biological, non-adoptive parents have standing to seek custody and visitation of children who were conceived and born into relationships in which both individuals had agreed to co-parent.
The unanimous decision reversed a 1991 ruling in the matter of Alison D. v. Virginia M., which denied parental rights to many people in non-traditional families who are raising children.
In overturning Alison D., the Court held that the fact that the unmarried parties in Brooke B. had reached a preconception agreement to “conceive and raise a child” together was sufficient to establish standing for the non-biological parent to later assert custody or visitation rights. The case has been remanded to Family Court for further proceedings.
Loyens & Loeff
The latest update from law firm Loyens & Loeff concerns the most relevant changes resulting from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, applicable as of 25 May 2018, and includes requirements relating to the use of so-called “sensitive data.”
The term ‘sensitive data’ covers personal data revealing: racial or ethnic origin, political opinion, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, genetic and biometric data, health data or data concerning sex life or sexual orientation.
The GDPR endorses the general prohibition of processing of sensitive personal data previously introduced by the Directive. As a result, data controllers are not allowed to process sensitive personal data, unless one of the justifications specified in the GDPR is applicable. This is an exhaustive list. Processing of such sensitive data performed in any other situation is therefore considered illegal.
Mayer Brown JSM
Mayer Brown has recently launched a new handbook, entitled “Cybersecurity Regulation in the United States: Governing Frameworks and Emerging Trends,” which offers insights on the regulatory frameworks applicable across key sectors of the United States economy, as well as emerging regulatory trends across sectors. The handbook’s launch coincides with the beginning of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2016. Mayer Brown is an official Champion of NCSAM.
Authored by lawyers in the firm’s global Cybersecurity & Data Privacy practice, the 80-page handbook serves as a valuable resource for in-house counsel, executives and other stakeholders as they work to satisfy regulatory requirements in a manner that is consistent with business needs and that complements a risk-based approach to cybersecurity across the enterprise.
Mayer Brown’s global Cybersecurity & Data Privacy practice is composed of more than 50 lawyers worldwide from disciplines that include litigation, regulatory, corporate, government affairs and global trade, intellectual property, enforcement, employment, insurance and business technology sourcing.
In August, McMillan LLP and IBM confirmed plans to collaborate on the development of a new software platform designed to give clients of the law firm better insight into its legal services. The platform promises to deliver improved cost-effectiveness, promote pricing certainty, and optimize workflows and staffing by standardizing metrics for a range of McMillan’s legal services.
Powered by IBM’s comprehensive predictive analytics system, SPSS, and running on IBM Cloud, the platform offers advanced algorithms and techniques that aggregate, analyze and interpret McMillan’s internal data to strengthen the decisionmaking process.
As such, the platform will assist the firm in discovering new legal patterns and trends, and help its lawyers build more accurate pricing models. In addition, it will improve McMillan’s ability to forecast metrics for a range of its legal services, from purchasing and selling a business to managing litigation to financing transactions, and more.
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Morrison & Foerster last month published the results of its semiannual M&A Leaders Survey which found that more than twice as many dealmakers intend to accelerate tech acquisition activity during the next six months compared to respondents who predict a slowdown.
Specifically, almost half of dealmakers (47%) expect tech M&A activity to increase during the next six months, while only 20 percent are forecasting a decrease. The survey results came in at a time of significantly accelerated tech spending this summer despite a drop in the deal volume.
The aggregate value of tech, media, and telecom (TMT) deals in 2016 tops US$336 billion, according to 451 Research’s M&A KnowledgeBase. In Q1 2016, there were 1,039 deals with an aggregate total of US$73 billion, while Q2 saw 1,043 deals worth an aggregate US$110 billion, and Q3 saw 910 deals worth an aggregate of US$153 billion. In Q3, an unprecedented number of big-ticket purchases with a median value of US$2.2 billion accounted for US$133 billion of deals.
Nardello & Co
Nardello & Co has broadcasted earlier this year the opening of a new office in Tokyo, and the appointment of Toshinari Asano as Managing Director and Japan practice head. Ben Rowse, Head of Nardello & Co’s Asia-Pacific practice, is to relocate from Hong Kong to Tokyo in August, where he will continue to lead the firm’s operations throughout the region.
Nardello & Co’s Japan practice, with an office located at East Tower 4th Floor, Otemachi First Square, 1-5-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, will assist Japanese clients in navigating the complex and ever-shifting challenges they face operating overseas, while also providing investigative services to local and international clients in Japan.
Asano brings significant experience to his new position, having conducted a wide variety of reputational due diligence and complex investigative assignments involving fraud and corruption, asset searches, litigation and arbitration support, strategic intelligence and political risk analysis for clients in Japan and overseas.
Oldham Li & Nie Solicitors
Oldham, Li & Nie (OLN) in September unveiled plans for the expansion of its Insurance Practice Group, in response to growing demand from both existing and potential clients in the changing and increasingly pervasive regulatory environment in Hong Kong.
In addition, Adelina Wong (formerly Senior Legal Counsel with AIA Hong Kong for over 8 years) has joined the firm’s Insurance Practice Group, to provide advice to clients on insurance-related matters.
OLN was founded in 1987 with offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai, with a principal focus on Corporate and Commercial, Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property, Divorce & Family Law, Insolvency & Restructuring and Private Client Services.
OLN’s Insurance Practice Group has direct experience of the legal, regulatory and practical challenges facing insurers and reinsurers throughout Asia region. Members of the Group have worked in the insurance industry and have extensive experience working in and advising insurers and reinsurers on contractual and regulatory matters and risk management issues relevant to their businesses.
O’Melveny & Myers
O’Melveny partners Tony Wang and Mark Peterson, and associate Michael Reynolds co-authored the October 17, 2016 article entitled “Chinese Companies Targeting Southern California for Growth Opportunities” in the Orange County Business Journal on the prospects of Chinese investment in the area.
The authors discuss how “structural economic dynamics continue to favor increased interest in US assets by investors in China” and conclude that “Orange County’s diverse business landscape (particularly in the fields of technology, entertainment, healthcare, and real estate) offers a plethora of appealing prospects for investment, acquisition, or partnership, so this is a market dynamic to watch in 2017.”
Wang is a specialist in corporate and securities law, with an emphasis on private equity, venture capital, merger and acquisition, and Asia-related media and entertainment transactions. With more than a decade of experience as a general counsel and chief legal officer, Peterson aids clients with complex acquisitions, board-level issues, and practical, business-savvy legal advice. Reynolds represents clients in corporate finance, capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions matters.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
Paul, Weiss was a sponsor of the 30% Club’s Annual Boardroom Lunch in Hong Kong, which took place on October 14 at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center. The lunch brought together an extensive and growing pool of accomplished and aspiring women directors with chairmen, board members and senior management from Hong Kong’s leading companies and their key advisors.
In a simulation of boardroom discussions, guests engaged over lunch in a structured exchange of views on some of the key issues facing boards today, including innovation, succession planning and risk management.
Corporate partner Betty Yap facilitated a table of clients and aspiring women directors invited by The Women’s Foundation, which launched the 30% Club in 2013 to address the underrepresentation of women on corporate boards in Hong Kong.
Paul, Weiss is a member of the 30% Club, a group of business leaders committed to achieving gender balance at all levels of organizations, with a focus on promoting women to positions of leadership in the workforce.
In July, Proskauer represented AccorHotels in its purchase of Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FRHI) – which is the Toronto-based parent company to the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands – for US$2.7 billion.
Paris-based AccorHotels is a hotel operator with nearly 500 luxury and upscale properties that span 34 countries across five continents. FRHI’s portfolio includes The Savoy in London, Raffles Hotel Singapore, Fairmont San Francisco, New York’s The Plaza and Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris.
Proskauer has represented AccorHotels for nearly 20 years in a number of transactions, including its strategic alliance with Huazhu Hotels Group to create a major hotel company in China, the sale of Motel 6 and related US economy hotel operations for US$1.9 billion, the US$1.32 billion sale of Red Roof Inns, and more than US$1.5 billion in sale-and-management-back and other transactions in the US for Sofitel and Novotel properties.
Ropes & Gray LLP
Ropes & Gray’s Women’s Forum held a client networking event in Tokyo in October at the Peninsula Tokyo. Government enforcement partner Kaede Toh brought together a group of leading female legal scholars, in-house counsel and top executives to discuss the important role that mentoring plays in helping women thrive in their careers.
The Ropes & Gray Women’s Forum offers educational, professional development and networking opportunities for its female attorneys. The forum sponsors programs that give female lawyers access to firm and industry leaders and other experts, hosting events at which clients and guest speakers are invited to address topics such as networking, marketing, mentoring, leadership training, and professional and business development.
The Women’s Forum operates in conjunction with the firm’s top-rated diversity initiatives, which are consistently recognized for excellence by many of the world’s leading legal publications and rankings. This year, Ropes & Gray was named the top firm for overall diversity among US law firms in the annual Vault rankings.
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. (ST&R) managing partner Tom Travis and Champlin Washington Strategies principal Steven Champlin have formed an alliance between their two firms in July.
Steve Champlin is one of the foremost experts on US trade policy. He has played a crucial role in the implementation of every major US trade agreement since the passage of NAFTA. Today, he helps corporations adopt national and global government policies through Champlin Washington Strategies.
His experience as a former key advisor to congressional leaders, combined with his 25-year career in private practice providing guidance and insight to companies and associations on national and global government policies, makes him a great resource for ST&R’s government relations group, attorneys, advisors and clients, Travis said.
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. also plays a crucial role in international trade-related legal and consulting services. It is the largest international trade services provider in the world and operates in North America, South America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
Simmons & Simmons
Simmons & Simmons this year obtained regulatory approval for a Joint Law Venture (“JLV”) for Simmons & Simmons JWS Pte Ltd. Simmons & Simmons JWS will be able to offer clients both foreign and Singapore law advice and will operate starting November 2016.
The establishment of the JLV responds to the growing financial services industry in Singapore, and it means the firm can now offer an integrated service to clients across its key areas of focus, particularly asset management & investment funds, and financial institutions.
Managing Partner Jeremy Hoyland says, “Simmons & Simmons JWS will be one of the few leading full-service law firms to be able to demonstrate true sector focus on asset management, investment funds and financial institutions, providing Singapore and international clients with specialist advice in relation to capital markets, commodities, employment, investment funds, international arbitration, investigations, transactional and regulatory matters.”
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Ellis has advised on behalf of ZTO Express for an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this year. The logistics giant covers 96 percent of China, with more than 26,000 employees.
The IPO could raise as much as US$1.5 billion, which would make it the largest by a Chinese company in the US since Alibaba’s US$25 billion listing in 2014.
Skadden is the legal advisor to ZTO on the US law aspects of the offering, while Zhong Lun is advising on Chinese law elements. Skadden Hong Kong corporate partners Julie Gao and Haiping Li are leading the firm’s team.
The lead underwriters Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have turned to Kirkland for US law advice, and Jun He on the Chinese law aspects. Kirkland’s team is led by corporate partners David Zhang and Benjamin Su in Hong Kong, and Steve Lin in Beijing. Offshore firm Maples and Calder is advising on the Cayman Island law parts of the offering.
Squire Patton Boggs (formerly Squire Sanders)
The Squire Patton Boggs Foundation will expand its fellowship program into Europe, further extending the reach of the Foundation in supporting public service initiatives.
Working in partnership with the prestigious College of Europe (Bruges, Belgium) and the Russia-United States Legal Education Foundation, the initiative will build on the program that has operated in the US for more than a decade and in the Middle East since 2013. A new Russian studentship will be supported from the 2016-17 academic year, and the first European Fellowship will commence in July 2017.
Since 2004, the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation has awarded fellowships each year to exceptional law students who demonstrate a steadfast commitment to public service.
The Foundation was formed in 2000 when the firm dedicated attorneys’ fees from a 25-year pro bono civil rights discrimination case. The endowment continued to grow through the proceeds of a second large pro bono victory when the firm successfully settled a federal racial discrimination suit against a hotel resort.
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell has served as national coordinating counsel for Volkswagen in a multi-national litigation and other investigations stemming from the issue of claims on clean-diesel.
The Sullivan & Cromwell team, led by partners Robert Giuffra and Sharon Nelles, has achieved a resolution with the US Department of Justice, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), California Air Resources Board (CARB), California Attorney General, US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and private plaintiffs represented by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC).
Volkswagen simultaneously resolved consumer protection claims with 44 US states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in separate negotiations. Heralded by both the Court and the public for its speed, scope and practicality, the settlement puts to bed a huge swath of Volkswagen’s civil, regulatory, consumer and environmental exposure.
The settlement was not only unprecedented in size, but in nature. Unlike typical settlement negotiations, Volkswagen and its counsel undertook a “hub-and-spoke” negotiation, with S&C managing multiple negotiations with parties whose interests did not align.
Tanner De Witt
Tanner De Witt partner Kim Boreham is helping to promote women’s rugby in Hong Kong in her position as Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) director of women’s rugby. The story has been highlighted and published in the South China Morning Post.
The Hong Kong Women’s Premiership is looking to use its first standalone corporate partnership – a three-year deal with KPMG – to raise the profile of the women’s game in Hong Kong. As a result of the recent partnership, coaches will have access to KPMG’s state-of-the-art Insights Centre for post-match reviews, and there will be opportunities for players through an internship program.
“Having a partner of the caliber of KPMG is a huge boost for the profile of women’s rugby in Hong Kong,” said Boreham. “It is the first time that the women’s rugby league has actually had its own corporate partnership and that is a testament to the strength and increasing profile of women’s rugby in Hong Kong.”
Troutman Sanders Solicitors
Troutman Sanders LLP’s Shanghai office has relocated to 25/F Henderson 688, 688 West Nanjing Road in what’s called “an exciting move for us as we head toward our 10-year anniversary in Shanghai,” highlights Edward Epstein, managing partner of the Shanghai office.
Troutman Sanders’ Shanghai office has consistently received high praise from clients, with lawyers recognized for corporate, M&A and real estate by publications, including Chambers Global, Chambers Asia and Legal 500 Asia Pacific.
The lawyers in the Shanghai office work closely with the firm’s Hong Kong and Beijing offices to assist clients based in North America and Europe with investments and operations in Asia, as well as to assist Asia-based clients with their domestic and US investments and operations.
Troutman Sanders’ China practice assists corporate and institutional clients, as well as government bodies and high net-worth individuals in a wide variety of industries, including banking, investment banking, healthcare, hospitality, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, information technology, education, e-commerce, manufacturing, distribution and services.
Vinson & Elkins LLP
Vinson & Elkins LLP has recently opened a new office in Taipei to serve the growing demand of the firm’s clientele in Taiwan and across the Asia Pacific region.
V&E partners David Tsai and Christopher Kao will oversee the office, which will serve as a platform for offering a wide range of litigation, transactional and strategic legal counseling support, with an emphasis on complex commercial litigation, intellectual property, renewable energy and corporate matters.
The Taipei office is located on the 52nd floor of the iconic Taipei 101 skyscraper, in the city’s Xinyi District. The office is V&E’s fourth in Asia and 16th worldwide.
With approximately 650 attorneys, V&E is among the preeminent law firms in Asia and provides integrated US and local law advice, and offers a broad range of legal services in the Asia Pacific region through the firm’s offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taipei.
White & Case
White & Case LLP has advised HSBC Bank plc and Société Générale, as global coordinators, and Citgroup Global Markets Limited, Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft, Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. and Goldman Sachs International, as joint lead managers, on Air France-KLM’s €400 million (US$443 million) bond issue.
The bonds have a nominal value of 100,000 euros, bear interest at a rate of 3.75 percent and will mature in October 2022. Issued on October 12, 2016, the bonds are listed on the regulated market of Euronext Paris. This transaction enables Air France-KLM to lengthen its debt profile.
The White & Case team in Paris which advised on the transaction was led by partner Séverin Robillard with support from associates Grégoire Karila and Adeline Poucheparadj. White & Case is a global law firm with cross-border experience and diverse teams of local, US- and UK-qualified lawyers who are trained to give insights into both established and emerging markets.
Wilkinson & Grist
In its September 2016 newsletter, Wilkinson & Grist highlighted Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) launch of a “Cyber Security Fortification Initiative” (CFI).
The initiative is aimed at raising the level of cyber security of banks in Hong Kong, following the issue of another formal circular by HKMA highlighting a supervisory requirement for banks to implement the CFI. In the same month, HKMA also issued a third circular reiterating the requirement for Authorized Institutions providing Internet banking services to further strengthen their security controls, amid recent incidents involving unauthorized share trading transactions. These initiatives are the results of a previous HKMA circular issued in September 2015 for Authorized Institutions to strengthen their oversight of cyber security controls.
The string of circulars is indicative of HKMA’s inclination to ensuring a safe and efficient online banking environment, emphasizing the need for banks to enhance their internal cyber security controls to protect against cyber-attacks and adhere to these increased regulatory obligations and expectations.
Winston & Strawn
Winston & Strawn is representing Verizon Communications Inc as employment and employee benefits counsel in its US$4.83 billion acquisition of Yahoo! Inc. It is handling the international executive compensation, employment, labor, and employee benefit matters on behalf of Verizon.
The addition of Yahoo to Verizon and AOL will create one of the largest portfolios of owned and partnered global brands with extensive distribution capabilities. Combined, AOL and Yahoo will have more than 25 brands in its portfolio for continued investment and growth.
The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, approval by Yahoo’s shareholders, and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017. Until the closing, Yahoo will continue to operate independently, offering and improving its own products and services for users, advertisers, developers and partners.
Winston’s team was led by Scott Landau, Jennifer Stadler, and Maria Fufidio. Winston & Strawn LLP is an international law firm with 18 offices located throughout North America, Asia, and Europe.
Withers – which first launched its Hotels and Hospitality practice in March 2016 with the hire of Robert Williams, Justin Gross and their team – has expanded its practice by hiring corporate partner David Mallinson in Hong Kong.
Mallison is recognized as one of the leading advisors of hotel operators and investors in the Asian market, representing clients on their transactions and developments in Hong Kong, China and across South-East Asia. He joins the firm from Mayer Brown JSM’s Hong Kong team.
The practice has been very active in the Asia-Pacific region: in the first half of 2016 alone, it advised Marriott International on a deal to establish its first JW Marriott and Edition hotels in Singapore, Pro-invest Group on an A$300 million capital raise for its inaugural Australian hotel fund, and SilverNeedle Hospitality Group on a three-hotel lease deal with the Queensland Investment Corporation.
Zhong Lun Law Firm
Zhong Lun Law Firm was PRC adviser for ZTO Express’ IPO and listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this year. On October 27th, ZTO Express Co Ltd (ZTO) was successfully listed on NYSE by issuing ADSs (American Depository Shares) of its Cayman affiliate, ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc, at an issuing price of US$19.50 per share.
ZTO raised approximately US$1.4 billion in its initial public offering. Its IPO is expected to be this year’s biggest IPO in the US capital market, the second largest US IPO since Alibaba, and the first offshore IPO in the Chinese express delivery industry.
The legal team was led by Anthony Qiao, Michael Chen and Jim Li, partners of Zhong Lun Shanghai Office, and the team members include Jenny Zheng, Feifan Wang, Miranda Zhang and Irene Le. Zhong Lun Shanghai office has been serving ZTO since 2015, including ZTO’s receipt of pre-IPO equity investment from private equity firm Warburg Pincus and other strategic investors.