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China > Private equity/venture capital > Foreign firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Private equity/venture capital: foreign firms
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Clifford Chance LLP’s practice is highly recommended for LBOs, MBOs and public-to-private matters; it also handles PIPEs, pre-IPO and cornerstone investments, as well as senior, mezzanine and high-yield financings and venture capital work. The team advised CVC Capital Partners on its disposal of Education International Cooperation Group to a consortium. Beijing-based Terence Foo heads the private equity practice in mainland China.

In May 2016, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP hired corporate partners Betty Yap and Judie Ng Shortell from Linklaters in Hong Kong and Beijing, respectively. The practice advises on some of the most complex private equity deals that impact China; highlights include advising KKR on a C-round investment in Shanghai Yiguo E-Commerce, an e-retailer of fresh foods. Beijing-based Greg Liu and Jack Lange in Hong Kong are highly rated, as is China practice managing partner Jeanette Chan, who divides time between Beijing and Hong Kong.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is recommended for its advice to major international and local private equity firms on complex, cross-border transactions and private equity fund formation in China. Beijing-based Ling Huang and Denise Shiu acted for TPG on the sale of its interests in HCP Packaging to an investment vehicle.

Ropes & Gray LLP experienced a significant increase in mandates, particularly with regard to take-private and co-investment deals. Recent cross-border highlights include advising Carlyle on its purchase of a stake in Metropolis Healthcare. Shanghai-based Arthur Mok is recommended as having ‘deep experience and for being highly reliable’.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has significant expertise in advising private equity clients, both in strategic investments and fund formation. The practice advised the sellers, led by FountainVest Partners (a China-focused private equity firm), on the merger of its portfolio company, Key Safety Systems, with Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corporation. Beijing-based Shaolin Luo ‘really understands how to make deals happen in the most effective way possible’.

Together with colleagues in Hong Kong, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s Beijing-based Daniel Dusek and office head Peter Huang advised Qihoo 360 Technology on its $9.3bn sale to a consortium, which marked the largest-ever going-private deal for a Chinese company listed in the US. Other key contacts are Jon Christianson in Beijing and Shanghai office head Gregory Miao.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP regularly advises on large, innovative private equity transactions. Hong Kong-based Tim Gardner advised Baring Private Equity Asia on its buyout of HCP Packaging from TPG Capital. The ‘exceptionally strong’ Charles Ching, who joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in 2015, divides his time between Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong; Anthony Wang joined O’Melveny’s office in Newport Beach, California.

Allen & Overy LLP is recommended for its private equity experience in sectors such as real estate, insurance and energy, as well as life sciences, telecoms and infrastructure. Shanghai-based China real estate head Richard Kim and renminbi funds expert Ji Zou are recommended along with Ling Li in Beijing.

Baker McKenzie’s funds and private equity lawyers enjoy a joint operation with FenXun Partners in the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone. The practice advised Yuexiu Real Estate Investment Trust on its acquisition of Hongjia Tower in Shanghai. Hong Kong-based Dorothea Koo leads the firm’s Asia Pacific private equity group.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Shanghai office recently welcomed counsel Hui Zheng, who relocated from the London office. Alan Wang – who divides his time between the Beijing and Shanghai offices – worked alongside the Frankfurt office to advise ChemChina on the acquisition of KraussMaffei Group, a plastics and rubber processing machinery manufacturer, which marked the largest Chinese-German outbound deal to date. Shanghai-based Jack Wang is also recommended.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP has extensive experience of representing financial sponsors and their affiliates in multi-jurisdictional LBOs, growth equity investments and fund formations. Beijing-based Chuan Li recently advised on several outbound private equity exits, including Evergreen Capital’s divestment of its shares in Thermal Dynamics International.

Linklaters recently endured the departure of Beijing-based corporate partner Judie Ng Shortell to Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. The team nonetheless continues to advise clients on establishing funds, making and financing investments, and ongoing portfolio management, as well as restructurings and exits. Team head Fang Jian and Gilbert Li are recommended; both are based in Shanghai.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘team responds to clients’ questions and requests promptly, is very knowledgeable about the legal aspects of transactions, and billings are always transparent and reasonable’. The practice stands out for its representation of private equity funds and issuers in the TMT, consumer retail, life sciences, and real estate sectors. Hong Kong-based Marcia Ellis, who ‘has a strong commercial sense, deep legal knowledge and is extremely easy to communicate with’, advised China-focused Ascendent Capital Partners on various deals, including the sale of one of its portfolio companies. Shanghai-based Maria Wang and Thomas Chou are also recommended along with Jeremy Hunt in Hong Kong.

O’Melveny recently advised on various buyouts and venture investments, PIPE transactions and bridge loans; the team was also active assisting with debt financings, restructurings and recapitalisations. Shanghai-based Walker Wallace – who is recommended – acted for ADV Partners on its $545m series A investment in a coal bed methane exploitation and mining company. Beijing-based David Roberts and Ke Geng are also highly rated. Qiang Li joined DLA Piper in Shanghai.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is especially strong in tech sector deals. The Beijing and Hong Kong offices acted for Warburg Pincus on several matters, including its $100m series C investment in Yunniao.me, a Beijing-based courier service platform, and its sale of shares in ANE Logistics. Recommended figures include Beijing-based Ning Zhang for mainland China work and, in Hong Kong, Connie Cheung and Maurice Hoo, who heads the M&A and private equity practice globally.

Paul Hastings LLP continues to act in headline TMT private equity deals and real estate mandates, such as the creation of a co-investment venture for China Orient Summit Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which will invest in credit and distressed opportunities in China, particularly in the real estate sector. Shanghai-based David Wang and Jia Yan, who divides his time between Shanghai and Beijing, are recommended. Other key contacts include Douglas Freeman, Victor Chen and Vivian Lam in Hong Kong.

Sidley Austin LLP’s advises on the full scope of private equity work. Recent mandates include Joseph Chan advising C-Bridge Capital on the formation of a new China healthcare growth capital investment fund. The practice also acted for medical devices manufacturer, Medtronic, on its partnership with Sequoia Capital to establish a $60m joint venture fund. Zhengyu Tang and Wenseng Wendy Pan are also names to note; all three partners mentioned are based in Shanghai, with Pam also spending time in New York.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is ‘excellent in terms of quality of advice, negotiation skills and in-depth experience’. The practice has extensive expertise advising private equity firms of all sizes, from mid-market investors to firms that specialise in large buyouts, and has a particularly strong reputation in the technology sector. Highlights included advising Coatue Management, a US-based tech fund, on its $500m investment in Didi-Kuaidi, China’s largest taxi-booking company. Asia managing partner Rocky Lee, who divides his time between Beijing and Hong Kong, has particular expertise in variable interest entity structures which allow Chinese companies in industries such as technology, media, education and broadcasting to gain access to foreign capital despite foreign exchange restrictions.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s recent private equity highlights include acting for IDG Capital Partners on its investment in SouFun Holdings. Beijing-based Howard Zhang is recommended.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP advises on transactions and disputes involving major private equity clients in the region. Matt Emsley and Austin Sweeney – who are both based in Hong Kong – jointly head the department; the latter acted for Goldman Sachs on its $100m proprietary investment in Indian e-retailer, Pepperfry.com.

Jones Day has a rounded private equity practice and the team recently advised on the China-Hong Kong aspects of XIO Group’s secondary LBO of the Compo Expert business, a supplier of specialty fertiliser products, which it purchased from Triton Partners. Partner-in-charge John Kao is recommended.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s China private equity team is led by lawyers based in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Together with the Hong Kong office, Shanghai managing partner Rowland Cheng advised MBK Partners on its purchase of a 43% equity stake in Apex Logistics International.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP acts for investment funds and companies operating in China on US-dollar denominated private equity transactions as well as renminbi-focused investments. Shanghai managing partner Don Williams advised China Chang Jiang Medicine Group on a pre-IPO financing with Tianfeng Securities. Tony Mou is another key contact in the same office.

Hong Kong-based Michael DeSombre at Sullivan & Cromwell recently acted for a consortium led by Ally Bridge Group Capital Partners on NYSE-listed WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman)’s $3.3bn going-private deal.

White & Case LLP’s private equity experience includes fund formations, financings, M&A, portfolio assistance and exits. The Shanghai office acted for Lilly Asian Ventures, a venture capital fund in the life sciences and healthcare sectors in Asia, on its investment in Veritas Genetics International and ACEA Biosciences. Alex Zhang in Shanghai and Hong Kong-based Asia private equity head Peggy Wang are the names to note.

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