The Legal 500

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi

SHIN-MARUNOUCHI BUILDING, 29TH FLOOR, 5-1, MARUNOUCHI 1-CHOME, CHIYODA-KU, TOKYO 100-6529, JAPAN
Tel:
Work +81 3 3214 6522
Fax:
Fax +81 3 3214 6512
Web:
www.mofo.com

Japan

Top-tier recommendations

Recommendations


Latin America: International firms

Recommendations


Japan: Antitrust and competition law

Within International firms and joint ventures, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is a second tier firm,

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi represents clients in obtaining multi-jurisdictional antitrust clearance for mergers and acquisitions. Specifically, it advised Elpida Memory on its $2.5bn sale to Micron Technology. Other clients include TDK, Hitachi and Toshiba. Kei Amemiya, who has served as an investigator at the JFTC, and of counsel Kazuyasu Yoneyama are highly regarded antitrust and competition lawyers.

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Japan: Banking and finance

Within International firms and joint ventures, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is a second tier firm,

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomihas a very good track record providing LBO finance advice in Japanese and in English’. The firm’s key strengths include bank finance, bank regulatory matters, project finance and real estate finance. The firm represented SoftBank in the acquisition financing to be provided to SoftBank by a group of banks for its $20.1bn acquisition of a 70% interest in Sprint Nextel. It also advised The Carlyle Group in its LBO financing for Walbro Engine Management, from Sun Capital Partners. Dale Caldwell ‘is flexible, strong in negotiations, and very experienced’. Theodore Seltzer is also very highly regarded. Katsuhiko Fujihira, Keiko Yamazaki and Masahiro Shiga are also recommended.

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Japan: Capital markets

Within Independent local firms Leading individuals: bengoshi

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Within International firms and joint ventures, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is a second tier firm,

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi advised GLP J-REIT and GLP as to US law regarding its IPO in Japan with a concurrent international offering outside of the US under Reg. S, and in the US under Rule 144A. It also advised Activia Properties on its ¥94bn initial global offering. Andrew Winden and Fuyuo Mitomi lead the capital markets group. J-REIT expert Saori Nakamura ‘has integrity, client focus, and is diligent and reliable’. Katsuhiko Fujihira and of counsel Robyn Nadler are also recommended. In 2013, the firm welcomed Kenji Taneda, who is ‘superb at drafting documents and handling clients’, from Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Tony Grundy left the firm to join Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (Singapore) LLP in Singapore.

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Japan: Construction, projects and energy

Within International firms and joint ventures, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is a first tier firm,

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi represented Mitsui & Co in its agreement with GDF SUEZ Canada to participate in a set of Canadian renewable energy power generation projects; is advising a Japanese consortium in its bid to build and operate the São Paulo–Rio de Janeiro high-speed rail project; and represented Osaka Gas and Chubu Electric Power in their entry into a long-term LNG liquefaction tolling agreement with a 2-train LNG liquefaction facility under development by Freeport LNG in Texas. Head of the project finance and development group Michael Graffagna is praised for his ‘knowledge, negotiation strategy and the chemistry he shares with our company’. Project finance expert Dale Caldwell is also highly recommended.

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Japan: Corporate and M&A

Within International firms and joint ventures, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is a first tier firm,

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi’s Tokyo office advised on more than $50bn in M&A transactions in 2012. Highlights included advising SoftBank in its acquisition of a 78% stake in wireless operator Sprint Nextel for $21.6bn; acting for Elpida Memory in its $2.5bn sale to Micron Technology; and advising Toshiba Tec in its $850m acquisition of IBM’s Retail Store Solutions. The firm’s lawyers ‘have a wealth of experience and knowledge of the M&A process’. ‘Their service has been outstanding in all respects’. Ken Siegel’s team includes the highly recommended Jay Ponazecki, Stanley Yukevich, Dale Araki and Fuyuo Mitomi. Gary Smith ‘is particularly good, and his client-relationship skills and technical quality are excellent’. Randy Laxer ‘understands Japanese corporate culture’. Senior of counsel Tadashi Wada is an insolvency expert. Kenji Taneda joined the firm from Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

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Japan: Dispute resolution

Within International firms and joint ventures, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is a first tier firm,

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is ‘first rate; the unknown becomes the known. Response times are excellent’. The firm is representing Hitachi Metals in a case to enforce its rare earth sintered magnet patent portfolio against 29 respondent/infringers in the US International Trade Commission; and represented JAL in a complex litigation dispute involving three court cases in Hawaiian federal and District Court related to failed property development on the Big Island in Hawaii. James Hough, formerly the head of the firm’s litigation practice in New York, has transferred to Tokyo to head the litigation department. Max Olson, Craig Celniker and Louise Stoupe are highly recommended. Terazawa Yukihiro is ‘dogged, resourceful, competent’. Jack Londen has relocated to San Francisco.

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Japan: Intellectual property

Within Independent local firms Leading individuals: bengoshi

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Within International firms and joint ventures, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is a first tier firm,

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomiprovides a top-flight, responsive, knowledgeable team of IP attorneys here in Tokyo’. The firm is representing Toshiba TEC Corporation, in its acquisition of IBM’s retail store solutions business unit for $850m, including the IP related to the business. The firm is also representing Fujitsu and its subsidiaries in patent litigation brought by TPL Group before the US International Trade Commission. Litigators James Hough and Max Olson are recommended, as are Yukihiro Terazawa, Masato Hayakawa. Robert Hollingshead is head of the Tokyo office’s patent department. Stuart Beraha is head of the technology transactions group. Louise Stoupe’s ‘strength is her experience in IP litigation, especially with Japanese clients’.

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Japan: Real estate

Within Independent local firms Leading individuals: bengoshi

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Within International firms and joint ventures, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is a first tier firm,

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi recruited the ‘professional commercial and prompt’ Masahiro Shiga from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. The firm represents clients at all stages of the real estate investment cycle, including fund formation, project acquisition and financing, project and portfolio sales, and public offering of real estate vehicles. The firm advised Global Logistic Properties in the formation of two joint ventures and the combined $1.45bn acquisition by such joint ventures of 40 logistics properties in Brazil. Theodore Seltzer is ‘an excellent Japan real estate expert’. Eric Piesner and Keisuke Mochizuki ‘are efficient and understand their client’s purposes and goals’. Andrew Morrison and Narutake Takasu are also highly recommended. Junichi Kurokoshi was promoted to partner in 2013.

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Japan: Tax

Within International firms and joint ventures, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is a first tier firm,

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi’s team is ‘extremely client-centric and proactive’. The firm is ‘responsive and very good at identifying and resolving issues’. The tax group advised Japanese wireless carrier SoftBank on the tax issues relating to its acquisition of a 70% stake in wireless operator Sprint for $20.1bn. The firm also represented The Carlyle Group in its LBO financing for Walbro Engine Management, a global small-engine-parts manufacturer, from Sun Capital Partners. To facilitate the LBO financing from Japanese banks, the corporate structure was flipped so that the Japanese operating subsidiary became the parent company of the group. Head of the tax department Eric Roose is ‘one of the most talented and experienced US tax lawyers in Asia’. Of counsel Michael Shikuma is ‘very switched on, reliable and provides sound advice’. Takeo Mizutani and senior adviser Yasuo Igarashi are highly recommended. In 2012, Chizuko Tomita joined the firm from the Tokyo office of a leading global accounting firm.

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Latin America: International firms

Within Projects and energy, Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is a third tier firm,

Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi is widely known for its work on behalf of Japanese trading houses that are engaged in Latin American projects and project financings. The firm is known for its work in the energy, mining, transport and infrastructure sectors in Latin America. The firm has worked on a series of major projects throughout the region, including in Peru, Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Puerto Rico. In 2013, the firm represented the creditors in two significant financings to Colombian petroleum company Ecopetrol, to fund projects at its Barrancabermeja refinery. The Tokyo office where Michael Graffagna heads the firm’s project finance and development group, works with a number of Japanese trading houses in connection with Latin American projects. Other key partners include Washington DC’s Frederick Jenney, who is well known amongst the development banks and agencies, and recognised for his expertise in the renewable energy sector. Washington DC colleague Nicholas Spiliotes is also immensely experienced in international project finance, including Latin America transactions. Experienced San Francisco partner Zane Gresham is also recognised for his recent work on the privatisation of Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín Airport.

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Further information on Morrison & Foerster LLP

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China

Offices in Shanghai and Beijing

Hong Kong

Offices in Hong Kong

Latin America: International firms

Japan

Offices in Tokyo

London

Offices in London

United States

Offices in Washington DC, Sacramento, Palo Alto, New York, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and McLean

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