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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and M&A: independent local firms
  2. Leading individuals: bengoshi

Leading individuals: bengoshi

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is ‘the best in the Japanese market with rich expertise across all types of M&A and corporate activity’, and clients appreciate the lawyers’ ‘professionalism, pragmatism and commercial approach’. Satoko Kuwabara and ‘incredible practitionerGaku Ishiwata head the team; recent work for Ishiwata includes advising KKR on its ¥500bn acquisition of Calsonic Kansei, which combined a tender offer and a special dividend; and acting for Accordia Golf on its acquisition by MBK Partners. Other clients include SoftBank, Hitachi, MUFG, SMTB and Nomura. Further names to note include Satoshi Kawai, who handles private equity transactions; Shin Kikuchi, who is recommended for corporate governance matters; Koji Toshima, who focuses on securities issues; and acquisition financing expert Naoya Shiota, who ‘has excellent M&A skills and an ability to perfectly balance his advice’.

Kenichi Fujinawa leads the practice at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, where Hiroshi Mitoma, Yuko Tamai and Kei Asatsuma are names to note. Mitoma recently led advice to Komatsu on its acquisition of Joy Global, and Tamai acted for NYK Line on its merger with MOL and K Line, combining their container shipping businesses. Further highlights include Keitaro Oshimo assisting Sompo Holdings with its acquisition of Endurance Speciality Holdings; Taku Umezawa advising SMBC on its acquisition of American Railcar Leasing; and Kei Okubo handling Clasonic Kansei’s acquisition by KKR & Co for ¥500bn. The firm’s client roster also features Panasonic, the Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola Japan, Fujifilm, Permira and Lawson. Four practitioners made partner in 2017, while Yasuhide Watanabe joined Morrison & Foerster LLP’s New York office, and Ko Wakabayashi joined Anderson Mori & Tomotsune.

Nishimura & Asahi has ‘one of the best domestic M&A practices in the country’ under the leadership of Takashi Ejiri and Koichi Kusano, and has a substantial focus on cross-border transactions. Highlights included Kazuhiro Takei, Masaki Noda, James Emerson and Ayako Matsumoto advising Nippon Life on its acquisition of MLC Limited from National Australia Bank, and Katsuyuki Yamaguchi - Megumi Shimizu, Yasunari Sugiyama and Madoka Shimada acting for Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance on its business alliance with Hitachi Capital; Yamaguchi, Shimizu, Sugiyama and Shimada also assisted Yokohama Rubber with its acquisition of Alliance Tire Group totalling $1.2bn. Mark Tudor joined from an in-house position and is recommended for transactions in the energy and natural resources sector. Masakazu Iwakura left for TMI Associates.

Masakazu Iwakura, Masami Hadama and Tatsuhiro Takahara jointly lead TMI Associates’ practice, which has seen substantial growth in recent years. Iwakura, Gyo Toda and Yoshiyuki Sato joined from Nishimura & Asahi in 2017, while Takashi Toichi joined from Anderson Mori & Tomotsune; four practitioners were also promoted to the partnership. The team has notable strength in the finance, IP and life sciences sectors. In a recent highlight, Takahara and Tatsuya Taniguchi acted for Tepu Probe during its acquisition by Powertech for ¥40bn. The team also advised Recruit Holdings on the sale of its shares in Yuko Yuko Corporation, and assisted Owl Creek with the $2.3bn sale of its shares in Universal Studios Japan to Comcast NBCUniversal.

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune acts for Japanese and international clients on domestic and cross-border M&A transactions. Key names include of counsel Osamu Hirakawa, Kenichi Masuda and ‘star adviser’ Hiroki Kodate; Kodate recently assisted Japan Industrial Solutions with its acquisition of shares issued by Nippon Sheet Glass, and advised Obayashi on its ¥25bn acquisition of shares of Obayashi Road through a tender offer. Further mandates include acting for Cosmo Energy Holdings on its acquisition of the remaining shares in Kygnus, and assisting Sekisui Chemical and Inabata & Co with their joint acquisition of PT Cayman. Keita Tokura is recommended for hostile takeover issues, and Yoshimasa Dan is highly regarded. Ko Wakabayashi joined from Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu and Takashi Toichi moved to TMI Associates.

Eiichiro Hata heads the department at Atsumi & Sakai, which handles domestic, inbound and outbound M&A for a client roster spanning the financial services, technology, pharmaceuticals, real estate and construction sectors. The team recently advised Hong Kong Wangsu Science & Technology on its ¥21bn acquisition of shares in CDNetworks. The 20-partner practice also includes Hiroyuki Nezu, who handles corporate governance matters; Ryuichi Nozaki, who is based in the firm’s London office; Masataka Hayakawa, who focuses on corporate regulatory and compliance work; Yuri Suzuki and Hiroyuki Sanbe.

The ‘knowledgeable, experienced and practical’ team at Hibiya-Nakata is led by Nobuo Nakata, who is ‘clearly a star and a seasoned and professional lawyer; he can cope with any challenge thrown at him’. Nakata’s recent work includes advising Randstad Holdings on its acquisition of Careo Holdings and acting for Outsourcing on its acquisition of Orizon Holding. Clients also praise Koki Yamada, who assisted M3 with its acquisition of 60% of the shares of Health Impetus; senior associate Haruka Murata, who is ‘very hardworking and always on top of things’; and Mikiharu Mori, who has ‘an impressive level of experience’.

According to some, southgatehas been incredibly impressive since its establishment in 2016’, providing ‘balanced advice, which always has a personal touch’. The boutique is ‘genuinely excellent’ at cross-border M&A and has a growing cross-border venture capital practice; recent highlights include acting for the shareholders of American Engineering Corporation on the company’s acquisition by Outsourcing, and advising A-kit America on its acquisition of Knight Mechanical Testing. Mangyo Kinoshita and Eric Marcks lead the team; Kinoshita is ‘highly experienced with exceptional resourcefulness and industry knowledge’, and Marcks is ‘well versed in the market and incredibly easy to work with’.

Ushijima & Partners’ ‘dedicated’ practice ‘provides a highly sophisticated service’ under the leadership of Shin Ushijima and the ‘brilliantHiroshi Watanabe. Other key names to note include Osamu Inoue, who regularly advises international clients on inbound acquisitions; Masahiko Todo, who is experienced in corporate investigations; and the ‘extremely focusedRikisuke Yamanaka, who specialises in procurement mandates. The group handles a substantial amount of cross-border M&A, and is also recognised for its hostile takeover work.

City-Yuwa Partners’ practice covers the full gamut of corporate and commercial work including M&A, venture capital matters, private equity issues, corporate governance, regulatory work and related tax issues. The group counts domestic and foreign companies as clients include those from the finance, technology and energy sectors. Yoshiko Koizumi, Masato Kobayashi, Junko Hirakawa and Yukihiro Fujimoto are key team members.

At Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners, Shiro Kuniya and Hirohiko Ikeda are noteworthy names in the corporate practice. The firm regularly acts for clients in Osaka, acting on inbound and outbound transactions including M&A, corporate restructurings corporate governance, private equity issues and venture capital work. The group’s client roster features financial institutions, pharmaceuticals and energy companies.

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