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Who Represents Who

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Very strong firmClifford Chance has an ‘outstanding’ record and an especially large Hong Kong law team in Beijing, led by Tim Wang, who has paid a pivotal role in originating deals. The firm has an impressive market share of higher-value transactions and offerings by state-owned enterprises (SOEs). It advised China Energy Engineering Corporation on its $1.8bn IPO, and HSTC on its $4.5bn IPO, the largest in Hong Kong since 2010. Other key members of the team include Virginia Lee, Amy Lo and Cherry Chan in Hong Kong.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP maintains an impressive market share of high-value and headline Hong Kong IPOs and NASDAQ listings. The firm is known for its record in larger-sized deals, its connections to key investment banks, and its expertise in the financial services and technology sectors. Recent work highlights saw the team advise CICC on its $708m Hong Kong IPO, the first international PRC bank to list in Hong Kong. In addition, it assisted the underwriters with the $4.3bn H-share placing by Haitong Securities, and acted for the underwriters in the $1.96bn Hong Kong IPO by Legend Holdings. Bonnie Chan and Antony Dapiran have outstanding reputations along with US securities partner James Lin.

The team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is ‘very responsive’, ‘professional’ and provides ‘senior attention’. The firm has dominated the equity capital markets (ECM) sector for well over a decade and has a high market share of Hong Kong listings valued at over $1bn. The firm recently advised BOC Aviation on its $1.1bn Hong Kong IPO, a spin-off listing from Bank of China, and acted for China Zheshang Bank in its $1.7bn IPO and China Huarong Asset Management in its $2.3bn IPO. It also advised IMAX China on its $248m IPO, the first Hong Kong listing for a major global brand since 2011. Teresa Ko ‘remains a market leader’ and ‘has the energy to continue building the practice’. Grace Huang is a ‘good operator’, while Richard Wang is a ‘pivotal’ figure in Beijing, connecting the firm with numerous SOEs and ‘utilising his rich experience in the Hong Kong market’.

Kirkland & Ellis is ‘top tier’ for ‘listings in both the US and Hong Kong’. It ‘fields a large and strong team’, where the lawyers (many of whom are fluent Chinese speakers) take a ‘big-picture view’, thanks to their ‘experience and industry knowledge’. With regards to Hong Kong IPOs, there are few with a greater standing than the ‘very experiencedDominic Tsun, who led the team that advised the banks on the Hong Kong and US law aspects of the $2.5bn global offering by China Huarong Asset Management. PRC native David Zhang is a leading US securities practitioner, who ‘provides strong senior leadership and a broad perspective’. Li-Chien Wong is ‘very responsive’ and Benjamin Su is a ‘technically strong lawyer’.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP houses ‘experienced’ and ‘hands-on’ partners, and a ‘deep bench of experienced associates, who provide a consistently high level of service’. The ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ team has an impressive market share of Hong Kong IPOs and is widely recognised for its prospectus drafting expertise, thanks to its experience handling New York IPOs. The firm is close to UBS and several other key underwriters. It acted for the underwriters in the $5bn Hong Kong IPO by HTSC in 2015. In US listings, the firm advised the underwriters on Baozun’s $126m NASDAQ IPO. The ‘second-to-none’ Christopher Wong ‘knows the banks, issuers and regulators’, and is ‘fantastic in guiding deals through complex issues’. Celia Lam and US securities partner Chris Lin are also highly recommended. Former partner Leiming Chen has joined Ant Financial Services Group as general counsel.

Providing ‘value for money’, the team at Herbert Smith Freehills adopts a ‘responsive’ and ‘thorough’ approach, and remains known for underwriter-side work, including representing a growing list of Chinese banks. The firm is well reputed among the regulators and has solid record in spin-off transactions and listings by Chinese and international issuers. In recent work highlights, the team advised Goldman Sachs on the $1.69bn listing and global offering of H shares of China Zheshang Bank. It also advised the banks on the HK$7bn Hong Kong IPO of Bank of Jinzhou. Matt Emsley has ‘good relations with the bulge-bracket banks’, is ‘very thoughtful’, ‘client-focused’ and ‘hands-on’, has tremendous Mandarin speaking skills, and good connections with the regulators. Jason Sung is also recommended.

Latham & Watkins LLP has an impressive market share of Hong Kong IPOs and follow-on offerings. The firm’s sizeable team of Hong Kong and US securities specialists has enabled it to work on a range of headline deals, including China Galaxy Securities’ $3.1bn H-share placing. Cathy Yeung and Eugene Lee are key partners, and William Woo is ‘very responsive’, ‘helpful’ and ‘very experienced’. Native Chinese speaker Yilong Du joined from Goldman Sachs in October 2015.

Linklaters’ renewed commitment to ECM work has seen it instructed on a series of major IPOs, spin-off listings and rights issues. The lawyers ‘exceed expectations’, ‘step out of their comfort zone’ and have exceptional ‘industry knowledge’, ‘having done so many cutting-edge deals in the market’. The firm maintains strong connections to key underwriters such as Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and a number of Chinese banks. It acted for the global coordinators in BOC Aviation’s $1.1bn global offering and spin-off listing in Hong Kong. Robert Cleaver and the ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘always reachable’ Craig Dally are key Hong Kong partners along with US securities partner Pam Shores.

Morrison & Foerster is a very credible player, especially in mid-market deals, thanks in part to its connections with Chinese financial institutions, including Bank of China International, BOCOM International Securities, CCB International Capital and CICC. The firm also advised China CNR Corporation on its $26bn merger with CSR Corporation; the first merger of dual-listed companies on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges. On the IPO side, it advised the sponsor and underwriters on the HK$524m IPO by Genscript Biotech, and the sponsor and lead managers on the HK$430m IPO by PuraPharm. Venantius Tan is a prominent industry figure and Charles Chau is ‘responsive and flexible’. Vivian Yiu’s arrival from Allen & Overy further bolsters the team, after the departure of Gregory Wang to Reed Smith Richards Butler.

The ‘professional’ and ‘client-oriented’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright provides ‘good communication skills’ and ‘value for money’. The firm has an impressive history in ECM, leveraging its bank and underwriter connections with big players such as HSBC, CICC and China Merchant Securities. The firm advised Beijing Capital Land on its A-share offering and listing in the PRC, and acted for CNQC International Holdings in its HK$216.5m share placing. Psyche Tai has ‘significant experience and extensive knowledge’, and Terence Lau is ‘hands-on and responsive’.

Paul Hastings LLP has impressive China coverage with a significant group of PRC natives and Chinese speakers in the team. The group is ‘outstanding’, ‘hands-on’ and ‘on top of every exercise’, and has an especially strong record in consumer retail and healthcare deals. In 2015, the firm completed eight Hong Kong listings and is considered a leader in B to H-share listings. In early 2016, the firm advised Bank of Tianjin on its $948m Hong Kong IPO. Nan Li is ‘very intelligent’, ‘diligent’, ‘has good business sense’ and is ‘very knowledgeable on both Chinese and overseas laws’, Zhaoyu Ren has strong relationships with a number of PRC bankers, and Steven Winegar is another key member of the team with good connections to investment banks. The firm recently suffered the departure of senior figure Sammy Li and Edwin Kwok to Hogan Lovells and O’Melveny respectively.

The team at Shearman & Sterlingprovides first-class legal advice’ and ‘seeks to understand the client’s various business goals’. It has maintained an impressive share of headline deals, thanks in part to its close association with key US banks. Technology, entertainment and healthcare have been especially active sectors for the practice. Recent work highlights include advising the underwriters on Dali Foods’ $1.15bn Hong Kong IPO, and assisting Harmonicare with its $205m Hong Kong listing. In addition, the firm advised the banks on the $248m Hong Kong IPO by IMAX China, the first multinational to list on HKSE for some years. In another landmark deal, the team acted for the banks during Hutchison China MediTech’s New York offering, as part of its dual-listing on London’s AIM and NASDAQ. Colin Law and Paloma Wang show ‘distinguished leadership’, as does US partner Matthew Bersani.

The ‘outstanding’ practice at Sidley Austin has a ‘breadth and depth of expertise in acting for issuers’, and principally operates in the mid to large cap space, handling a high-volume of deals. It recently advised ICBC in connection with Ronshine China Holdings’ $233m IPO. Constance Choy is ‘experienced’, ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘a safe pair of hands’, who is well respected among PRC issuers, Chinese underwriters and Hong Kong regulators.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is widely noted for its experience and expertise in the technology sector, and its understanding of variable interest entity (VIE) structures. The practice tends to be more weighted towards issuers, and recently advised 3SBio, the Chinese biopharmaceutical company, on its $819m Hong Kong IPO. On the underwriter side, it assisted with the $135m Hong Kong IPO of Modern Dental Group. Chinese speaker Christopher Betts is the key name for Hong Kong listings, however the firm is also ‘extremely strong on the US side’ with Julie Gao, a pre-eminent player in NASDAQ offerings. Peter Huang plays a pivotal role in Beijing.

Slaughter and May is a ‘fantastic name in the market’ and has gained significant market share. It reinforced its illustrious standing by acting for China Reinsurance in its $2bn Hong Kong IPO. It also advised the underwriters on the Hong Kong listing of Union Medical Healthcare. The firm has a strong association with the bulge-bracket banks such as Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and CICC, and has good relations with the regulators. Benita Yu and John Moore lead a tightly integrated Hong Kong and US law team.

Sullivan & Cromwell has an impressive market share of large deals, notably in the financial institutions, TMT, and pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. The firm acted for the underwriters during China Reinsurance’s $2.01bn Hong Kong IPO, which marked the first time a reinsurance company listed on HKSE, and advised the underwriters on Bank of Zhengzhou’s $655m Hong Kong IPO. In addition, the team is active in secondary offerings, and assisted Bank of Chongqing with its HK$6.2bn private placement of new shares. Kay Ian Ng and Chun Wei both have prestigious reputations. William Chua joined Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

Allen & Overy advised Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed Bank of China on the spin-off listing of BOC Aviation. The firm has a modest share of Hong Kong IPOs, but is frequently active in Hong Kong-listed company transactions. Bernardine Lam is recommended for ECM deals, especially spin-off listings. Vivian Yiu has joined Morrison & Foerster, but the arrival of the ‘hands-on’ and ‘innovative’ Lina Lee and the ‘approachable’ Jonathan Hsui from Ashurst is a major boost to the firm’s standing.

Ashurst has a tightly integrated Hong Kong and US law practice, and has expanded its underwriter relationships with a number of PRC banks. The firm advised Goldman Sachs and BAML on the HK$1.67bn sell-down of shares in Hong Kong-listed China Cinda Asset management by Standard Chartered. Key industries for the practice also include pharmaceuticals, healthcare, education, consumer goods and natural resources. Stuart Rubin has ‘good judgement and commercial sense’, though the departure of Lina Lee and Jonathan Hsui to Allen & Overy is a considerable blow.

At DLA Piper, Liu Wei, who is based in Beijing and Hong Kong, is well connected in the PRC and is company secretary for a number of major PRC companies. Melody He-Chen is another key figure, while US securities partner Stephen Peepels joined Hogan Lovells. In 2015, the firm advised Zhuangyuan Pasture on its HK$186m Hong Kong listing.

The large team at Deacons handles a significant market share of mid-cap Hong Kong IPOs and includes a number of certified accountants. BOCOM International (Asia), China Everbright Capital, Cinda International Capital and Haitong International Capital feature on the client roster, as does The Wharf, which the firm advised on its HK$2.2bn block trade sale of 6% interest in Sino-Ocean Land. Ronny Chow is a ‘very active market participant’.

Hogan Lovells re-launched its ECM practice with the hire of Sammy Li from Paul Hastings LLP and Stephen Peepels from DLA Piper in 2016. The enlarged team, which also includes Nelson Tang, is well positioned for SOE and POE transactions emanating from both North and South Asia. Senior members of the team are well acquainted with small to mid-cap deals right up to mega transactions, and several have in-house experience at investment banks.

King & Wood Mallesons is moving up the value chain in ECM, notably with a number of financial institution IPOs. The firm has excellent direct links to Chinese issuers and several prominent PRC securities houses. The practice provided PRC, Hong Kong and US counsel to Bank of Zhengzhou during its $653m Hong Kong IPO and Bank of Qingdao in its $607m Hong Kong listing, both in December 2015. In addition, the team advised Fosun International on its $1.2bn placement and top-up transaction. Candy Chan and Gary Lock are key figures with regards to Hong Kong law, and Christine Chen provides US securities expertise.

Mayer Brown JSM has a fine record in the middle-market with a practice that is slightly more weighted towards issuer mandates. It advised Jiayuan International Group on its $144m listing in Hong Kong in March 2016. James Fong and Billy Au are prominent names.

The team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has ‘good technical knowledge’, ‘commercial understanding’ and provides ‘good value for money’. The largely mid-market player has completed more than 40 Hong Kong IPOs since 2010. Clients include CCB International, BOCOM and BOCi. In 2015, it acted for Bank of Jinzhou in its $908m Hong Kong IPO, and Guolian Securities in its $455m IPO. Edwin Luk, Billy Wong and Keith Cheung are all well reputed.

Woo Kwan Lee & Lo has a tremendous record in ECM and Hong Kong-listed company work. It advised Cheung Kong Property Holdings on its proposed Hong Kong listing as part of the reorganisation of Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa. Angelina Lee, Carmelo Lee and Frank Yuen are outstanding partners.

Baker McKenzie is known for its experience in the real estate, infrastructure and mining industries, and – more recently – the healthcare and TMT sectors. The firm has also emerged as a major player in spin-off listings. It advised CRCC High-Tech Equipment Corporation on its $2.79bn global offering and acted for ICBC in connection with the HK$300m global offering of Chen Xing Development Holdings. Jackie Lo is a key figure in Beijing, with Elsa Chan leading the team in Hong Kong.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP has an impressive ECM platform though a group of experienced partners such as Michael Liu and Jane Ng. The team is noted for its extensive regulatory knowledge and record in REIT transactions.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Hong Kong) continued to illustrate its fine standing in ECM through its advice to Dali Foods Group during the $1.15bn Hong Kong IPO. The firm also advised Morgan Stanley on the SEC-registered secondary offering of China Biologic Products common stock by Warburg Pincus. Freeman Chan has a tremendous reputation, as does PRC native and US securities partner Shuang Zhao.

Eversheds’ growing association with Chinese banks and securities houses is paying dividends, and the firm continues to impress with its prospectus-drafting expertise. The team advised New World China Land on its HK$21bn privatisation and Yunnan Water Investment on its HK$1.66bn Hong Kong listing. Stephen Mok and Norman Hui are the key partners.

Jones Day has made good progress in the Hong Kong IPO space, and advised the underwriters on the $1.7bn IPO of China Zheshang Bank. Joelle Lau and Julian Lin form a strong senior team. Maria Tan Pedersen has an impressive record in IPOs on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has a tremendous record in South-East Asia, especially the Philippines, where James Grandolfo is very well respected. In 2015, he advised the underwriters on the PHP3.6bn Regulation S IPO by Metro Retail Stores Group.

From June 2015 to May 2016, Minter Ellison completed four Hong Kong IPOs; this included advising CCBi on the HK$1.28bn IPO of Jiayuan International Holdings. The mid-market player has an experienced team of partners in Barbara Mok, Katherine U and Anne Ko.

O’Melveny’s solid ECM platform was given further strength through the relocation of US securities partner Andrew Hutton to Hong Kong from Singapore. The firm also benefits from a strong Beijing office, which led as special US counsel during Bank of Qingdao’s Hong Kong IPO. Gigi Woo and Edwin Kwok are other key names to note, the latter of whom joined from Paul Hastings LLP.

Reed Smith Richards Butler has an illustrious history and record in Hong Kong ECM deals. It operates primarily in mid-market transactions, and advised CITIC CLSA on the $90m IPO of Nameson in 2016. Denise Jong and Ivy Lai are key partners, along with Gregory Wang, a recent recruit from Morrison & Foerster.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s ECM practice covers IPOs to cornerstone investments. The experienced team has classic Hong Kong IPO and SEC-registered expertise, and an especially strong record in the life sciences and biotech sectors. Recent work includes advising China MediTech on its $112m NASDAQ IPO, and assisting NASDAQ-listed client NetEase with its $200m cornerstone investment in Huatai Securities’ $4.5bn IPO. US securities partner Paul Boltz has an outstanding reputation, as does Hong Kong law partner Victoria Lloyd.

Troutman Sanders LLP is active in small to mid-cap deals. Guotai Junan Securities is a regular client, with the firm recently advising the investment bank on the $89m Hong Kong IPO of Sundart Holdings. Former Sidley Austin partner Jason Kuo has joined a solid senior bench that includes Rossana Chu, Allen Shyu and Olivia Lee.

Addleshaw Goddard has a high market share of small to mid-cap IPOs on the Main Board and GEM Board of HKSE, driven largely by sponsors and underwriters. Among a string of deals, lead partner Daniel Wan advised Ample Capital and the underwriters on the HK$320m IPO of Man King Holdings.

Chiu & Partners is another major player in small to mid-cap deals with one client recognising the firm as ‘one of the best houses in Hong Kong for IPO work’. Leo Chiu is the lead partner.

With a strong record in mid-cap IPOs, Howse Williams Bowers has a series of solid underwriter relationships, thanks to the presence of Brian Ho. The firm recently advised China Rongzhong Financial Holdings on its HK$211m Hong Kong IPO.

K&L Gates has considerable ECM and listed-company expertise. Operating principally in the middle market, the firm benefits from the presence of the versatile Carolyn Sng and experienced Vincent Tso.

Kwok Yih & Chan is a ‘trustworthy business partner’, where the lawyers are ‘well known and reputable’. The firm has a fine record in ECM deals and advised the sponsor on the HK$80m listing of TEM Holdings on the GEM Board of HKSE. Dieter Yih is an ‘authoritative figure’ and Conrad Chan is ‘knowledgeable and responsive’.

Key mid-cap player Li & Partners advised Ever Harvest on its Hong Kong listing in 2016, among a number of other notable deals. Robin Li is tremendously well connected.

With a fine record in small to mid-cap deals, Locke Lord’s experienced team includes Alfred Lee and Michael Fung. The firm advised the sponsor and lead manager on the GEM listing by Ever Smart International.

Simmons & Simmons LLP returned to the ECM segment with the hire of David Neuville and Joseph Lee from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in 2015. The team operates primarily in the mid-market space for issuers and international and Chinese banks. Recent work includes advising Advanced Card Systems on its transfer from GEM to Main Board listing on the HKSE. The firm is also active in India ECM deals.

Stephenson Harwood recently advised the sole sponsor and global coordinator on the HK$507m spin-off and IPO listing of Get Nice Financial Group. Voon Keat Lai has a tremendous reputation.

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