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Hong Kong > Corporate (including M&A) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Corporate (including M&A)
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Vivian Ho - Proskauer Rose LLP
    • Sam Kelso - Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
    • Jeanie Kim - Baker McKenzie
    • Heidi Lee - Ashurst
    • Terris Tang - Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
    • Olivia Wong - Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
    • Simon Wong - Bird & Bird

Who Represents Who

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Clifford Chance has achieved an impressive market share of the uptick in China outbound transactions, thanks in part to its heralded international network and sizeable contingent of well-connected Chinese speakers. Clients include major state-owned enterprises (SOEs) such as China Mobile and COFCO and privately-owned enterprises (POEs) including Fosun. The firm is also frequently referred major mandates through its bank relationships and has a formidable record in financial institutions M&A. For example, it recently advised Bank of China (Hong Kong) on its $8.77bn sale of Nanyang Commercial Bank to Cinda Financial. The firm also acted for State Grid Corporation of China in its new joint venture with Russia’s JSC Rosseti. Cherry Chan, Terence Foo, Emma Davies, Amy Ho, Amy Lo and Virginia Lee are highly regarded. Roger Denny has retired and Simon Cooke has joined Latham & Watkins LLP.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has continued its outstanding record in China outbound M&A, with many deals involving Hong Kong-listed companies. The client base includes a mix of financial institutions, SOEs and POEs, with many relationships originated by the firm’s market-leading equity capital markets (ECM) practice. The group advised China Shipping Group on a series of acquisitions and disposals totalling $8.3bn, which related to its merger with COSCO Group. In addition, the team acted for PetroChina during the $43bn consolidation of three pipeline operators into PetroChina Pipelines, and advised China Cinda Asset Management on its HK$68bn acquisition of Nanyang Commercial Bank from Bank of China (Hong Kong). Asia managing partner Robert Ashworth has a formidable reputation, as does listed company expert Teresa Ko, Simon Weller, Edward Freeman and Philip Li.

Kirkland & Ellis has a formidable Hong Kong and US law practice, which is widely recognised for its expertise in public M&A, take-private transactions, China outbound deals and distressed M&A. In addition, the firm is a local and global leader in private equity. Recent work highlights include advising a consortium of more than 30 China-based investors on the $9.3bn going-private of Qihoo 360; the deal was the largest-ever private equity-backed take-private of a US-listed Chinese company. Lead partner and PRC native David Zhang has an outstanding record in take-private deals and also advised Ganji.com on its combination with 58.com. Nicholas Norris is a pre-eminent public M&A specialist and assisted China Grand Automotive with its $1.5bn acquisition of a 75% share in Hong Kong-listed Baoxin Auto Group.

The ‘excellent’ team at Linklaters has ‘great industry knowledge’, and an enviable roster of prestigious Hong Kong and PRC clients. The firm is a market leader in public M&A, financial institutions M&A, and in other sectors such as mining and oil and gas. It recently advised China Merchants Group on its proposed reorganisation and merger with Sinotrans & CSC Holdings, and on its strategic investment in Dalian Port. Highlights also included acting for Hutchison Whampoa in its £3.1bn co-investment arrangements for the combined business of Three and O2 UK. Matthew Middleditch has a ‘good approach to deal making’ and is a dominant figure in financial institutions M&A. Craig Dally, Robert Cleaver and Kevin Cheung are also highly reputed, as is the newly promoted Alexandra Bidlake. Christopher Kelly and Betty Yap joined White & Case and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison respectively, and Teresa Ma has retired.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is a global M&A giant with a tremendous record in PRC inbound, outbound, intra-China and take-private transactions. The firm has earned accolades for its roles in China TMT deals and in transactions for PRC clients acquiring assets in the US. It advised the special committee of the board of directors of Qihoo 360 Technology on the company’s $9.3bn going-private transaction, the largest-ever take-private by a US-listed Chinese company. Recent work also includes assisting Apex Technology, as a consortium member, with its $4bn acquisition of Lexmark International, the largest ever US public takeover by a Chinese investor. In intra-China deals, the team advised Didi Taxi (Xiaoju Kuaidi) on its merger with Kuaidi Taxi. Julie Gao has ‘deep connections in the technology space’, and an outstanding record in take-private transactions and intra-China deals; she advised Didi Chuxing on its $7bn acquisition of Uber China. Jonathan Stone and Michael Gisser are also recommended.

The team at Slaughter and May is praised for providing a ‘commercial’ approach and ‘innovative solutions’. It has traditionally dominated through its Hong Kong client relationships but has gradually developed its standing among major PRC entities, including SOEs, and is now increasingly active in South-East Asia. The firm advised Alibaba on its HK$2.06bn acquisition of SCMP and acted for COSCO Pacific in its joint venture with China Merchants Holdings and China Investment Corporation (CIC) for the acquisition of a 65% stake in the Kumport Terminal in Istanbul, Turkey. In addition, it advised COSCO Pacific on its proposed acquisition of China Shipping Ports Development, part of a major reorganisation of the COSCO Group and China Shipping Group. Eminent lawyer Neil Hyman retired in 2016, though the firm maintains a large team and impressive senior bench featuring Peter Brien, David Watkins, Benita Yu and Lisa Chung, who demonstrates ‘outstanding professionalism’ and has ‘sophisticated knowledge of regulatory provisions’.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has assembled a mightily impressive client list, in part through its commitment to capital markets, M&A and regulatory work in Hong Kong. Consequently, it now represents a variety of blue-chip corporates, listed in both Hong Kong and New York. The firm is especially active in the financial institutions, technology and consumer sectors, and is regularly involved in take-private transactions. The team advised China Resources Beer on its agreement with AB InBev to acquire the 49% interest in China Resources Snow Breweries held by SABMiller for $1.6bn. In another landmark deal, the firm advised Uber China on its headline $7bn sale to Didi Chuxing. Paul Chow and Miranda So are the principal names in Hong Kong, along with counsel Sam Kelso.

Herbert Smith Freehills has a tremendous record in public M&A, takeovers and listed company work. The firm is prominent in China outbound M&A and intra-Asia Pacific deals. Financial services, energy, resources, infrastructure and TMT are key sectors, with clients including GCL Poly Energy and China Minsheng Investment. Recent work includes advising China International Capital Corporation (as financial adviser) on the headline restructuring of China Shipping Group and COSCO Group. Tommy Tong, Matt Emsley, Jason Sung and Austin Sweeney are top-drawer practitioners.

Norton Rose Fulbright has experienced a significant uptick in high-end public M&A transactions. The firm is well positioned for transactions involving Hong Kong corporates and China SOEs, and it has particular strengths in the real estate, financial institutions and technology sectors. Clients include, HSBC, AIG, Beijing Capital Land and China Overseas Land & Investment; the firm advised the latter on its $4.8bn acquisition of a property portfolio in 25 cities from CITIC Group. The team also assisted SCMP Group with the HK$2.06bn sale of its media business to Alibaba Group, and acted for HSBC (as financial adviser) in relation to the proposed $32.5bn merger of Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings and Power Assets Holdings. Psyche Tai is the big name in Hong Kong, along with Jon Perry. Terence Lau joined from Hogan Lovells in 2015.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP handles an even mix of M&A and private equity matters throughout Asia. The firm is a prominent player in going-private deals for companies, private equity sponsors and for special committees of the board of directors. It has also worked on a series of deals for key client Alibaba, including its investments in Ele.me and Best Logistics Technologies, and in connection with the proposed going-private transaction involving Youku Tudou. The team also advised the special committee of the board of directors of Homeinns Hotel Group on its headline $1.7bn going-private transaction. Kathryn King Sudol leads a team that includes Anthony King, Celia Lam, Chris Lin and Jin Hyuk Park.

Sullivan & Cromwell has a tremendous reputation for public M&A, China outbound transactions, intra-China deals and going-private transactions. The firm has developed an enviable client list, in part through its esteemed ECM practice, and now represents a variety of major SOEs, private enterprises and sovereign wealth funds. It advised Alibaba Group Services on its $1bn acquisition of Lazada Group; Alibaba’s largest foreign acquisition to date. Kay Ian Ng, Chun Wei, Michael DeSombre and Garth Bray comprise a formidable bench of partners. William Chua has joined Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

The ‘outstanding’ practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has a ‘solid understanding of the unique legal/business environment in China’, and is ‘strong down to through to the associate ranks’, with an impressive record in China outbound deals, complex cross-border M&A and take-private transactions. The team played a key role in HNA Group’s landmark $6bn acquisition, through Tianjin Tianhai Investment, of Ingram Micro, which was one of the largest China outbound deals into the US in 2016. The ‘engaged and hands-on’ Akiko Mikimo has ‘deep experience in cross-border M&A’ and is ‘constantly mindful of the big picture’. Henry Ong and Tim Gardner are also recommended.

The ‘reliable’ team at Allen & Overy is ‘responsive and pragmatic’, and ‘commercially aware’. It continues to impress with its record in China outbound deals, and knowledge of the TMT, financial services, oil and gas, and real estate sectors. Clients include Anbang Insurance, China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina), Hewlett-Packard, CITIC Construction and Thomas Cook. The firm recently advised Shenzhen-listed LeTV on its HK$2.3bn investment in Hong Kong-listed TCL, demonstrating its expertise in listed company transactions. Bernadine Lam has a tremendous record in Hong Kong public M&A and listed company deals, and Will McAuliffe is a leader in the TMT sector. Gary McLean has retired, while the addition of Lina Lee and Jonathan Hsui from Ashurst is a boost to the team’s listed company expertise.

Ashurst impresses with its Hong Kong-listed company work and takeover expertise, and is building its standing in inbound PRC matters and pan-Asia deals. The firm continues to represent Itochu and advised the Japanese corporation on its $200m indirect investment into HKSE-listed Bosideng International, together with the investment platform of CITIC Securities. Lina Lee and Jonathan Hsui have joined Allen & Overy. Joshua Cole, who has significant energy, natural resources and telecoms expertise, has reinforced the practice since joining from King & Wood Mallesons.

Baker McKenzie is recommended for mid-market transactions and praised for its ‘commercial’ advice and ‘impressive’ bench strength. The firm is well positioned for China inbound and outbound deals and transactions involving multiple jurisdictions. Real estate, insurance, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, life sciences and TMT are key industry sectors for the practice. It recently advised The Link Management on its $990m acquisition of Corporate Avenue 1 & 2 in Shanghai from Shui On Land. Dorothea Koo and Michael Horman are ‘knowledgeable, commercial and accessible’; and Tracy Wut and Christina Lee also key team members.

Deacons is noted for Hong Kong-listed company work, real estate transactions and a growing number of mandates from PRC clients. In 2015, the firm advised JAC Capital on its $1.8bn acquisition of the power amplifier business from NXP Semiconductors, a deal which also involved challenging intellectual property issues that were handled by the firm. Alexander Que and Eugina Chan are the key partners.

Hogan Lovells has a strong record in the financial services, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and technology sectors. It has a genuinely pan-Asia practice, driven by international clients and a growing number of PRC companies. The firm advised Mercer on its acquisition of the remuneration consulting and related data services business of HR Business Solutions across Hong Kong, China and Singapore. It also assisted China Cinda Asset Management, as a distressed investor, with its $1.6bn acquisition of a real estate development project in China. Tim Fletcher and Steven Tran are recommended. Jamie Barr has retired.

The team at King & Wood Mallesons provides ‘super quality’, ‘meticulous observation of significant issues’ and ‘great strategic guidance’. The firm has advised a series of Chinese asset management companies on outbound acquisitions, and is also noted for its record in PIPE deals. Recent work includes assisting HK CTS Metropark Hotels with its acquisition of Kew Green Hotels from TPG and Goldman Sachs, which was the largest-ever acquisition of a European hotel group by a non-EU investor. Gary Lock and Sheldon Tse are key contacts, as is Raymond Wong, who is ‘quick-minded’ with ‘amazing business acumen’. Joshua Cole moved to Ashurst

Latham & Watkins LLP reinforced its M&A credentials with the hires of Simon Cooke from Clifford Chance, Amy Beckingham from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and Frank Sun from Kirkland & Ellis. Though strongly weighted towards private equity, the new senior team have genuine M&A credentials and add to a powerful public M&A and listed company platform and a department that has an impressive China outbound record. David Blumental worked alongside colleagues from Paris and London in advising Shandong Ruyi Technology on its proposed acquisition of a majority stake in Sandro, Maje et Claudie Pierlot (SMCP). William Woo and Cathy Yeung are also highly reputed.

Mayer Brown JSM has an illustrious Hong Kong, PRC and multinational client base. The firm’s lengthy history in Hong Kong provides it with outstanding regulatory expertise and connections. It has also experienced an uptick in China outbound transactions, and as such, the team advised Beijing Enterprises on its €1.45bn acquisition of German energy-from-waste company EEW. Recent work also includes acting for Redwood Investment Company during its all-stock merger with e-Shang Cayman. Jeckle Chiu, Mark Stevens*, Jeremy Cunningham, Martin Robertson, Mark Uhrynuk and Jacqueline Chiu are key partners along with the up-and-coming Chester Wong. *Since publication, Mark Stevens has left the firm.

The ‘excellent’ team at Morrison & Foerster has ‘deep knowledge and rich experience’. In recent times, it has cemented relationships with major corporates such as Intel, and is increasingly active in China outbound M&A on behalf of PRC companies. The firm is especially strong in the technology sector and deals involving significant intellectual property aspects. It advised Intel on its $1.5bn minority investment in Tsinghua Unigroup’s semiconductor business, and China CNR on its $26bn merger with CSR Corporation to create China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. The team features public M&A specialist Jeremy Hunt and Chinese-speaking private equity and M&A expert Marcia Ellis, who is ‘experienced and practical’. Charles Chau is also recommended, as is Vivian Yiu, who joined from Allen & Overy in 2016 to further reinforce the firm’s ECM and China M&A expertise.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison may be primarily known for its work in the TMT sector, but it has a proven record in numerous industries such as pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and financial institutions. The arrival of Betty Yap from Linklaters, has only enhanced its offering, particularly in relation to PRC deals. Jeanette Chan recently advised Tencent on its $1.58bn investment with Alibaba and Oriza Holdings in CMC Holdings. She also assisted Microsoft with its joint venture with China Electronic Technology Corporation. Jack Lange is another senior name with exceptional private equity experience.

Reed Smith Richards Butler is noted for its knowledge of Hong Kong-listed companies and takeovers work, thanks to its extensive Hong Kong regulatory expertise. The firm advised China Shipping Group on its headline $3.6bn merger with China Ocean Shipping; the two were the largest shipping and logistics conglomerates in China. Other clients include CITIC Group, China Resources Group and Guandong Group. Michael Pepper, Delpha Ho - Ivy Lai and Denise Jong are key partners.

Shearman & Sterling has an excellent record in China M&A and take-private transactions; it recently advised the special committee of the board of directors of Bona Film Group on the $1bn take-private of Bona Film. The firm also advised Morgan Stanley as the financial adviser to Alibaba Group on its $4.2bn acquisition of Youku Tudou. Paul Strecker is an experienced hand in Asia M&A, along with Stephanie Tang, who has an impressive record in PRC deals, including take-private transactions. Colin Law provides further listed company expertise.

The ‘excellent’ team at White & Case is ‘very professional’ and a ‘safe pair of hands’. It further augmented its M&A standing with the hire of the eminent Christopher Kelly as Asia head of corporate from Linklaters. The practice now has a greater emphasis on financial sponsors and PRC outbound transactions; Kelly is close to commodity trader Noble Group and has an impressive background in the mining and energy space. Catherine Tsang also arrived from Paul Hastings LLP to provide additional public M&A and listing rules expertise. In 2016, the firm acted for Suzhou Dongshan Precision Manufacturing in its $610m acquisition of NASDAQ-listed Multi-Fineline Electronix. Anthony Vasey is ‘personable’ and ‘exceedingly dedicated’, and Peggy Wang has ‘in-depth knowledge of complex M&A transactions’. Mining expert John Tivey is also recommended.

Woo Kwan Lee & Lo remains one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious independent law firms and it continues to represent a number of blue-chip Hong Kong-listed clients, particularly in matters involving the real estate sector. Having worked on the landmark reorganisation of Cheung Kong and Hutchison in 2015, the firm then advised Power Assets Holdings on its HK$88bn privatisation. In addition, it acted for New World Development Company in the HK$21bn privatisation of New World China Land. Angelina Lee, Carmelo Lee and Frank Yuen are at the forefront of listed company deals.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP stands out for its record in M&A and China take-privates. The highly regarded Gregory Puff assisted the special committee of the board of directors of Autohome with a proposed going-private transaction. He also advised Duff & Phelps Securities (as financial adviser to the special committee of the board of directors of Ku6 Media) in connection with the Chinese gaming company’s take-private deal. Matthew Puhar and Charles Rogers are also key members of the team. Energy specialist Paul Greening, a 2015 hire, has transferred to Singapore.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s recently expanded platform has made considerable progress in Hong Kong, notably with the presence of senior names Michael Liu, Jane Ng, Rocky Lee and Stephen Chan. Chan led the team that advised CMBC International Holdings on its $1.68bn acquisition of Quam. The team is close to a number of Chinese SOEs and Hong Kong-listed corporates.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Hong Kong) has an impressive record in transactions for Hong Kong-listed clients, Chinese SOEs and POEs, and private equity houses. In 2016, it advised Hong Kong-listed Samsonite International on its proposed $1.8bn acquisition of Tumi Holdings. Freeman Chan is a prominent name in Hong Kong, especially in relation to listed company transactions. M&A and private equity specialist Gabriele Antonazzo has transferred to Hong Kong from London, while Michael Preston has moved the other way.

At DLA Piper, clients include Fosun International and Ping An. The firm advised the former on its $433m acquisition of Meadowbrook Insurance Group. Paul Chen is a key figure in Hong Kong along with South-East Asia expert Heng Loong Cheong. Sheng Wu was made partner in 2016 and provides additional PRC-related M&A expertise.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a ‘small but highly effective team’, which focuses on the key issues: ‘the most important negotiating points’ and ‘the things that deliver greatest value’. The firm has a tremendous record in the insurance sector, but is building a broad-based practice, and as such, recently hired experienced M&A and private equity specialist William Chua from Sullivan & Cromwell. He and Drew Dutton, who is ‘easy to get on with, responsive and tactically astute’, are backed by a number of international counsels. Clients include American International Group, AIA Group, AXA, China Life Insurance, Ingenico and AIF Capital. Among a number of recent work highlights, the firm advised Ingenico on its strategic partnership with Fosun International.

Gibson Dunn has experienced an upsurge in China-outbound M&A into the US and Europe, though these deals are principally led by the Beijing office. The firm also advised GE Capital on the $483m sale of its interest in Asia Satellite Telecommunications (AsiaSat). Graham Winter is known for his representation of a number of Hong Kong and Asian giants such as HKT, PCCW, First Pacific and Melco International Development. Private equity is another growing component of the practice.

Paul Hastings LLP has a deep understanding of China and Chinese clients, and this has led to a continued uptick in China outbound M&A. The Hong Kong team acts for an impressive mix of Chinese corporate clients, as well as international and regional private equity sponsor clients. The firm advised both China COSCO and China Ocean Shipping on their landmark $15bn restructuring programme, which involved a series of asset acquisitions and disposals. Douglas Freeman and Victor Chen have excellent reputations in M&A and private equity, while Vivian Lam is a big name in real estate M&A. Raymond Li has extensive connections in the PRC.

Sidley Austin’s lawyers are praised for their ‘in-depth knowledge of listing rules’, ‘China-specific knowledge’, and for providing ‘solutions during challenging cross-border M&A transactions’. Work highlights included advising General Electric on the $5.4bn sale of its global home appliance business to Haier, and acting for Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group during its $10.4bn investment, alongside Japan’s Itochu, into CITIC. Constance Choy has extensive Hong Kong-listed corporate client relationships and Tom Deegan is a premier energy M&A lawyer. Christopher Cheng is ‘experienced, creative and results-oriented’, and Raymond Oh is also recommended.

Simmons & Simmons LLP is known for its transactional experience in the energy and infrastructure, financial institutions, asset management, and TMT sectors. The firm acts for a number of Chinese and international oil companies, with Vivien Yang holding considerable experience in this sector. Ian Wood and Seung Chong are more generalist M&A practitioners; the latter advised HNA Group on its acquisition of the Thomson Reuters building (30 South Colonnade) in Canary Wharf, London.

Vinson & Elkins LLP is an oil and gas giant that has had considerable success representing major SOEs in China. Much credit should go to the well-connected Xiao Yong, who heads the China practice and splits his time between Hong Kong and Beijing. In 2015, the firm acted for Sinopec during its purchase of a 10% stake in Russia’s Sibur. Other clients include CNOOC, CNPC International, China Zhenhua Oil, EuroChem and Genting Energy.

Eversheds hired former Hogan Lovells counsel Charles Butcher, who is ‘client-friendly’, ‘fights for the best terms’ and has ‘a wealth of cross-border transactional experience’. Butcher gives the firm a pure M&A and private equity specialist at partner level, greater credibility with international corporates and private equity houses, and a more pan-Asia orientation. He links up with Hong Kong-listed company specialist Stephen Mok, who frequently acts for the likes of New World China Land. The enlarged team has seen an uptick in Asia outbound work into Europe especially.

The ‘cost-effective’ and ‘client-centric’ team at Howse Williams Bowers is ‘extremely commercial and responsive’. The firm continued to build-out its corporate platform in 2016 with the hire of partners Gilles Cardonnel from Gide Loyrette Nouel and Christopher Yu from Goodwin. In addition, Denise Che was promoted to partner. The practice has an excellent record in Hong Kong-listed company transactions. In this regard, Chris Williams and Brian Ho have tremendous reputations.

K&L Gates has a Greater China-centric practice with an outbound emphasis. Key industries include technology, natural resources and financial institutions, and clients include China Development Bank, China International Mining Group, China Dongxiang and CITIC Pacific Securities. The firm acted for the special committee of the board of directors in the take-private of 21Vianet Group, and advised Shenzen Blue Ocean Development Fund and its affiliated funds on a $250m investment in the privatisation of China Cord Blood Corporation by Golden Meditech Holdings. Virginia Tam, Carolyn Sng and Vincent Tso form an impressive senior echelon.

Kwok Yih & Chan is led by some of the most experienced practitioners in Hong Kong and the team has a hugely impressive record in listed company transactions. Examples include advising Hong Kong-listed Ausnutria Dairy on its proposed HK$470m acquisition of a 49% equity interest in Ausnutria Hyproca. Larry Kwok and Dieter Yih are recommended, as are Conrad Chan, who is ‘very experienced’ and ‘provides professional and practical insights into the regulatory environment’, and Leon Saw, a ‘commercial’ and ‘very dedicated partner, who delivers top-level services’.

Minter Ellison has an impressive record in Hong Kong-listed corporate transactions, typically in the mid-market segment. Clients include Hopson Development Holdings, Jetstar Hong Kong Airways, Carnival Group International Holdings, Golden Meditech Holdings and Sinomax Group. The team recently advised Golden Meditech on its RMB7.6bn sale of its share in New York-listed China Cord Blood Corporation. Barbara Mok and Fred Kinmonth are senior names with excellent connections in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has an impressive record in technology transactions, China outbound M&A and Hong Kong-listed company deals. Clients include JD.com, Perfect World, Microsoft, CITIC Guoan and Baidu. The firm advised Hong Kong-listed West China Cement on its $592m acquisition of the entire equity interests in four cement companies in Shaanxi Province from Anhui Conch Cement. Maurice Hoo, Edwin Luk, Keith Cheung and Connie Cheung are the key names to note.

The ‘extremely responsive’ team at Proskauer Rose LLP is commended for its ‘commercial’ approach, ‘business acumen’, and notable record in the hospitality, lodging and gaming, and real estate sectors. Accor is a key client, which the team recently advised on its $2.9bn acquisition of FRHI Hotels & Resorts. Yuval Tal, Jeremy Leifer and Jay Tai are all highly reputed.

Ropes & Gray LLP has upped its emphasis on China outbound deals, with a principal focus on the pharmaceutical, life sciences and technology sectors, which are global strengths of the firm. The practice has a strong record acting for POEs, while take-privates and private equity transactions are other key areas. James Lidbury advised Qunar on the recent $4bn share exchange transaction between Ctrip.com International and Baidu.

Stephenson Harwood’s team is ‘experienced and professional’, operating primarily in the mid-market space and often for Hong Kong-listed companies. Clients include Asia Standard International Group, SEA Holdings, Kerry Properties and Sinopec Kantons Holdings. The firm advised Fang Ankong on his disposal of a 24% interest in Chiho-Tiande Group. Voon Keat Lai and Paul Westover are the senior members of the team.

Troutman Sanders LLP has an experienced bench of senior professionals, which was further expanded by the arrival of Jason Kuo from Sidley Austin in 2016. Clients include Li Ning, Guotai Junan Capital and CITIC Securities; the firm advised the latter on its $167m takeover of KVB Kunlun, a company listed on the GEM Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Olivia Lee and Rossana Chu are two of the firm’s most prominent partners.

Addleshaw Goddard has a small presence in Hong Kong, though with a solid record in cross-border transactions involving Greater China. Retail, consumer and energy are key sectors for the practice, which recently advised on the management buyout of Miller Insurance Services. Brett Stewien is an experienced figure and leads the firm’s Asia M&A department

Baker Botts L.L.P. is noted for upstream and midstream oil and gas work. Key clients include Halliburton, Hoëgh, Pexco, and Sino Gas & Energy Holdings. Russell Wilkinson has tremendous technical expertise and experience.

Bird & Bird is noted for its strength in industries underpinned by technology, including TMT, life sciences and healthcare. Energy and aviation are other key sectors for the Hong Kong team. Pádraig Walsh and Wing On Chui are the key partners, with Asia Pacific chairman Justin Walkey providing further senior expertise in media and marketing transactions.

Locke Lord has a fine record in listed company deals and acts for clients such as Allied Time Investments, Best Sky, China Investment Development and Beijing Cenway Bio-energy Technology. The team advised the latter on its acquisition of a biodiesel plant facility in Houston. Wing Cheung, Michael Fung and Matthew Wong are recommended.

O’Melveny has a strong record in China technology transactions and take-private deals. The firm advised Chengwei Capital as the main shareholder in Youku Tudou, in connection with Youku Tudou’s acquisition by Alibaba. It also acted for WuXi PharmaTech in its $3.3bn going-private transaction. Nima Amini is the key contact.

Independent Hong Kong firm Tanner De Witt has an impressive mix of multinational and Hong Kong-based clients. It benefits from an extensive referral work from overseas law firms and handles a range of corporate work that includes frequent advice on Hong Kong’s regulatory landscape. Tim Drew, Eddie Look and Edmond Leung are recommended.

The ‘very professional’ team at Winston & Strawn has ‘great connections’. It acts for a variety of Hong Kong-listed companies, PRC entities and multinationals, and recently advised SOCAM Development on the sale of the Four Seasons Hotel and Four Seasons Place in the Pudong District, Shanghai. Mabel Lui and Simon Luk are names to note.

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