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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

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Clifford Chance LLP has a long-established practice in Asia in both upstream fund formation and downstream transactional work, and it has strong relationships with pan-Asian and China-based funds, as well as sovereign wealth funds. The private equity group is also complemented by the firm’s highly rated finance practice. Beijing-based Terence Foo heads the private equity practice in mainland China; he advises private equity clients and sovereign wealth funds on buyouts, public-to-privates, PIPEs, venture capital deals, and pre-IPO and cornerstone investments in China. Recent work saw Foo assist Standard Chartered Private Equity with its strategic investment in Chayora Holdings, a data centre project developer and operator in China. Hong Zhang is a key counsel.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP advises on some of the most complex and challenging private equity deals that impact China and its surrounding jurisdictions. In Beijing, Judie Ng Shortell is highly rated, and Greg Liu advised IDG Capital, and its portfolio company Titan Gas Technology Holdings, on the acquisition of a controlling stake in Shun Cheong Holdings. Other work highlights saw Jack Lange and Betty Yap in Hong Kong assist Hillhouse Capital Management with its $250m investment in Magento Commerce, a global provider of cloud digital commerce innovation. China managing partner Jeanette Chan splits her time between Beijing and Hong Kong.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has extensive experience acting for major international and local private equity firms in complex cross-border transactions and private equity fund formation in China. In the Beijing office, Ling Huang is highly rated and Denise Shiu led advice to TPG Capital, as a member of a consortium that included MBK Partners, on the acquisition of internet provider Wharf T&T.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP is highly rated for its handling of fund formation, LBOs, recapitalisations, restructurings, going-private transactions and exits. It acted for The Carlyle Group, CITIC and CITIC Capital Holdings in the $2.08bn acquisition of a majority stake in a newly formed company that will act as the master franchisee for McDonald’s in China and Hong Kong. Beijing-based Chuan Li is recommended, as is Hong Kong-based Daniel Dusek, who recently joined from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Recent developments at Linklaters included the hiring of corporate partner Simon Meng from King & Wood Mallesons and the promotion of John Xu to partner. The firm acts for clients at all stages, from establishing funds and making and financing investments, to ongoing portfolio assistance (including restructuring advice) to investment exits. Robert Cleaver advised The Bank of East Asia on the sale, together with NWS Holdings, of Tricor Holdings to private equity firm Permira. Fang Jian and Gilbert Li are also highly rated.

Morrison & Foerster LLP enjoys long-term relationships with some of China’s leading private equity entities and major multinational private equity funds that invest in China. In 2016, the practice acted for Ally Bridge Group in numerous matters, which involved new investments and/or asset management-related advice. In Shanghai, Maria Wang is recommended, and in Hong Kong, Marcia Ellis, Thomas Chou and Jeremy Hunt are the names to note.

Ropes & Gray LLP is recommended for high-end private equity deals across the Asia Pacific region. Shanghai-based Arthur Mok is managing partner of the Asia offices. He recently advised Temasek on its joint venture with Columbia Pacific Healthcare, a Seattle-based fund and operator of healthcare facilities.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP recently promoted Beijing’s Yang Wang to counsel. The team is highly rated for its representation of private equity clients, both in strategic investments and fund formation. It acted for Alibaba in its recent acquisition of Damai.cn, an online ticketing platform in China. Beijing-based Shaolin Luo is highly rated for his advice to private equity firms regarding their investments in China.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is well known for its advice to Chinese companies investing in the US and for acting in going-private deals; however, the team also assists non-Chinese parties with making direct investments or establishing joint ventures or wholly owned businesses in China. Head of the Beijing office Peter Huang led the advice to a buyer consortium, consisting of affiliates of Forebright Capital Management (Hong Kong), on its going-private acquisition of Jinpan International (China). Daniel Dusek left for Kirkland & Ellis’ corporate practice group in Hong Kong and Jon Christianson retired from the partnership.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP advises on the full spectrum of transactions, from auctions, exits, take-privates and growth investments to distressed deals, PIPEs and other public deals. Charles Ching, who divides time between Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, advised Primavera Capital Group, as lead investor, on an investment in Koubei. Ching ‘has a very user-friendly and commercial mindset, combined with an instinctive understanding of the commercial goals and thinking of Chinese clients, which makes him very solution-oriented when executing cross-border deals’. Tim Gardner and Akiko Mikumo are the key Hong Kong contacts.

Allen & Overy LLP is recommended for its sector experience in the real estate, insurance and energy industries. Other areas of strength for the private equity team include telecoms, infrastructure and life sciences. Shanghai’s Ji Zou is highly rated, as is Ling Li in Hong Kong. M&A and private equity specialist Wayne Lee joined the Hong Kong office from Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Expertise at Baker McKenzie FenXun Joint Operation Office spans fund formation, pre-IPO investments, PIPEs, buyouts, strategic investments, follow-on acquisitions, and exits, whether by way of IPO, trade sale or secondary buyouts. Bee Chun Boo in Beijing is regularly involved in private equity and venture capital transactions, and has substantial experience in fund-of-funds investments, direct investments and fund establishment. In Hong Kong, Dorothea Koo and Jason Ng are highly regarded.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer promoted Beijing lawyers Jason Xu and Yan Chen to the partnership. The firm’s corporate practice handles private equity deals, including acquisitions of (and investments into) portfolio companies, and exits from such investments through private M&A deals or IPOs. Beijing and Shanghai-based Alan Wang, Shanghai-based Jack Wang and Robert Ashworth in Hong Kong are also recommended.

O'Melvenyprovides a practical approach to solving problems that fits with clients’ needs’. The team stands out for its handling of a range of US-China cross-border deals. For some, Shanghai-based Walker Wallace is ‘the best lawyer around for China-related transactions’, and Beijing-based Ke Geng is ‘a quick and responsive partner, who is very hands-on when executing deals’. Nima Amini and James Ford are key Hong Kong names. David Roberts left the firm.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s Hong Kong office recruited M&A and private equity specialists Scott Peterman and Mark Lehmkuhler from Jones Day and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, respectively; meanwhile, Ning Zhang, Maurice Hoo, the firm’s former global co-head of M&A and private equity, and Connie Cheung joined Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP. The practice regularly advises private equity and venture capital sponsors, investment funds and portfolio companies on investment activity, management and regulatory issues. It also assists Chinese company founders and their businesses with financing rounds. Practice head Jeffrey Sun divides his time between Shanghai and Beijing.

Paul Hastings LLP continued to advise on significant TMT-related deals and the practice is also highly regarded for real estate private equity transactions. David Wang and Jia Yan jointly chair the Shanghai and Beijing offices. Douglas Freeman, Victor Chen and Vivian Lam are the key Hong Kong names.

Sidley Austin LLP’s domestic and cross-border private equity transactional practice advises on LBOs, distressed debt investments, recapitalisations and reorganisations, growth and venture capital investments, and PIPE investments. Joseph Chan in Shanghai advised Modern Metal & Refining (MM), a portfolio company of Swedish private equity fund EQT Partners, on the sale of a controlling interest to Jiu Ding Capital, a China-based private equity fund. Hong Kong-based Christopher Cheng and Raymond Oh are also highly rated.

DLA Piper’s Greater China team regularly advises on private equity deals, growth equity and venture capital transactions, and strategic investments, and the team frequently works alongside the firm’s fund formation practice. Qiang Li and Stewart Wang are recommended names in the Shanghai office, and Gloria Liu and Paul Chen are key contacts in Hong Kong.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s ‘work is always of excellent quality and the team is consistently responsive and able to provide insightful advice on complex legal issues’. It has a significant cross-border track record, particularly regarding China outbound acquisition matters. Recent highlights include handling a complex, high-value going-private deal. Howard Zhang and Li He in Beijing are highly regarded.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s workload includes public-to-private deals and management buy-outs and buy-ins, and the team also assists with investments and purchases by private equity investors and funds, as well as exits by way of sale or flotation. Sector expertise spans energy and renewables, financial services, infrastructure, TMT, and consumer products. Matt Emsley and Tommy Tong in Hong Kong are highly rated.

Hogan Lovells International LLP acts for private equity firms, venture capital investors, portfolio companies, start-up companies, financial institutions and fund managers, among others. Sector strengths include life sciences, healthcare, education, insurance, energy and TMT. Shanghai-based China and Asia Pacific corporate head Andrew McGinty and Beijing’s Steven Robinson are the key names. Michael Chin joined Simmons & Simmons LLP’s Hong Kong office.

Latham & Watkins LLP is experienced in transactions involving the technology, logistics, hospitality, and healthcare sectors; the practice also fields lawyers with industry expertise in real estate, energy, consumer products and financial institutions. Shanghai managing partner Rowland Cheng is noted alongside Hong Kong lawyers Amy Beckingham, David Blumental, Simon Cooke and Frank Sun.

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP recruited Ning Zhang, Maurice Hoo and Connie Cheung from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, where Hoo was global co-chair of the M&A and private equity group. The team recently acted for Warburg Pincus on a $120m series E investment in Yuanfudao, an online tutoring service provider in China. Edwin Luk is also a key contact.

Shearman & Sterling LLP handles private equity transactions, private equity and hedge fund formations and complex regulatory advice, among other matters. Beijing-based Lee Edwards is recommended for assisting Chinese and international clients with going-private deals, tender offers, stock and asset purchase transactions, and venture capital matters.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s ‘level of service is very good; the team is close-knit, responsive and does not hesitate to work late or during weekends to meet tight timelines’. It regularly advises private equity firms on investments, acquisitions and portfolio company restructurings. Shanghai managing partner Don Williams is recommended for private equity and venture capital financings, M&A deals and public offerings; he has ‘vast experience and industry knowledge, a hands-on approach, and his advice is commercially practical’. Tony Mou is also highly rated.

Sullivan & Cromwell’s recent experience includes acting for China Mengniu Dairy Company in its acquisition of a minority shareholding interest in China Modern Dairy Holdings from a KKR affiliate. Gwen Wong, Chun Wei, Garth Bray, Michael DeSombre and Kay Ian Ng are the names to note.

White & Case LLP houses ‘smart, capable lawyers’, who are experienced in fund formation, financing, M&A, portfolio assistance and exits. The firm recruited Andre Zhu from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and promoted Jiong Deng to local partner. Deng’s strengths are his ‘incredible responsiveness, attention to detail, positive attitude in the face of adversity and pleasant demeanour’. Alex Zhang and Asia private equity head Peggy Wang are also highly rated. Former China practice head Xiaoming Li joined Han Kun Law Offices.

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