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Japan > Capital markets > Capital markets – International firms and joint ventures > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Capital markets – International firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • Christopher Kodama (Gaiben) - Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
    • Kenneth Lam (Gaiben) - Linklaters
    • Yasuko Moriwaki (Gaiben) - Clifford Chance Law Office

Clifford Chance Law Office 'is very flexible and copes with changing timetables efficiently to always successfully close transactions'; clients also value how the capital markets team 'has a truly in-depth understanding of Japanese clients and operational terms'. Known as a 'great leader', practice head Reiko Sakimura acted for the investors in Toshiba's $5.5bn share placement by way of third-party allotment, and represented Nomura as sole bookrunner and lead manager in the dual-tranche issue of JPY140bn in zero coupon convertible bonds by ANA Holdings to raise funds for investment in fuel-saving aircraft. In other highlights, several foreign governments appointed Sakimura and Eiichi Kanda to assist with the issuance of 'samurai' bonds in both public and private placements. Also notable are Leng-Fong Lai and counsel Yasuko Moriwaki, who acted for Harmonic Drive Systems in its global share offering.

The capital markets experts at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP represent Japanese and foreign underwriters, banks, issuers, insurers and governments in equity, debt, hybrid, structured and liability management transactions. Spearheaded by Jon Gray and counsel Christopher Kodama, the group recently acted for the joint lead managers in connection with KATITAS' IPO of common stock shares; the team was also engaged to oversee a follow-on offering of common stock shares of Sosei Group which included an over-allotment option of 270,000 shares. Clients such as Toyota, Mitsubishi and Sumitomo Life Insurance engaged the firm to assist with their debut offerings under Rule 144A/Regulation S, and Gray continues to counsel SMBC on its $50bn global medium-term notes programme including regular updates and takedown offerings. Associates Alexander Coley and Benjamin Potter are also key names to note.

The structured finance and securitisation practice at Linklaters covers the full gamut of cross-border capital market mandates and has been advising on repackaging transactions involving the incorporating of commodities options, equity linkages and Japanese trusts. In two recent work highlights, a major financial services company appointed the team to handle the $300m floating rate convertible bonds issued by a major Japanese bank, and Peter Frost acted for a leading international asset management company in its private placement of floating rate green bonds due in 2022 and targeting Asian investors. Among the firm's other recent highlights features the placing of common shares, a series of secondary distribution mandates involving uridashi notes, and formosa bonds. Kozo Sasaki jointly leads the practice with Frost, Motoyasu Fujita and counsel Kenneth Lam, who specialises in financial products including structured note programmes and credit transactions.

'One of the best US firms in the Tokyo market',  Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP's capital markets department is co-led by the 'knowledgeable, responsive and reliable' Alan Cannon  Takahiro Saito and David Sneider. Together they field 'a strong team which performs equally well for issuers and underwriters'. In recent highlights, the team represented MHFG in several offerings of fixed and floating rate senior notes as part of its shelf registration statement under the Securities Act. Clients also note 'extremely service-oriented, technically strong and hardworking' associate David Snowden who assisted Cannon with ARUHI's JPY23.5bn IPO. Other key clients include Citigroup, Dai-Ichi Life Insurance, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Strengthening the team further, associate Brandon Whittaker relocated from the New York office to join the Tokyo group.

Described as 'the number one US law firm in Tokyo' due to its 'deep understanding of US securities laws, the local capital markets space and the businesses of issuers and investment banks', Sullivan & Cromwell LLP's capital markets team is jointly led by Izumi Akai and Keiji Hatano; Akai 'is a legend in Japanese capital markets' and Hatano 'has a brilliant sense of finance and business'. In recent highlights, the pair were instructed by SG Holdings to oversee its IPO and listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and Japan Post Holdings (issuer) and the Ministry of Finance (selling shareholder) appointed the team to handle the JPY1.3bn offering of common stock. SoftBank is also a key client and engaged the practice to assist with a $4.5bn multi-tranche US dollar-denominated perpetual subordinated hybrid note offering, as well as a $6bn offering of high-yield notes.

At Morrison & Foerster LLP, Kenji Hosokawa and his team 'are reliable for J-REIT transactions' and 'the overall service is excellent'. Fuyuo Mitomi co-heads the practice with Hosokawa; the pair recently collaborated with Mitsutoshi Uchida as US counsel to SMBC Nikko and Mizuho on the JPY35bn global offering of shares by Japan Display to overseas financial institutions investors and a domestic business partner. The group has welcomed Jesse Gillespie from Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; he has strengthened the team and, as US and UK counsel, led the advice to SoftBank on its $2.5bn offering of senior notes. On the J-REIT front, Activia Properties and its asset manager appointed the group to oversee its follow-on offering in Japan with a concurrent international offering. Hosokawa acted for Japan Hotel REIT Investment in its JPY35.9bn global offering.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP regularly advises an enviable client roster of Japanese underwriters and issuers on the full gamut of equity, debt, hybrid and SEC-regulated securities offerings. The senior name to note is Tong Yu; he acted for Mitsubishi UFJ Financial in a series of senior note offerings lead managed by Morgan Stanley, MUFG and Citigroup, as well as the SEC-regulated public offering of $2.5bn of TLAC notes. The group was also appointed US counsel by a major holding company to oversee the creation of a Japan-based regional financing group, and an investment company instructed the team to handle the additional issuance of equity units. Associate Makoto Nishigai is also a key contact.

Shearman & Sterling 'has several excellent partners in its Tokyo office' including Asia regional manager and practice leader Masahisa Ikeda 'who can explain US law to Japanese clients in Japanese and always provides practical, business-oriented advice'. Danone instructed the team in the global offering of Yakult common stock, while Ikeda assisted Alps Electric with the regulatory aspects of its merger with Alpine Electronics. Toshiro Mochizuki is the other partner name to note in Tokyo; he recently acted as US counsel to Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, the selling shareholder in the $2.7bn global offering of common stock by Renesas Electronics. Other work highlights include the formation of a $1.9bn joint holding company by way of a joint share transfer, and SEC-registered global debt offerings. Counsel Kana Morimura should also be noted.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has a strong track record assisting clients with corporate transactions and securities offerings. Jointly spearheaded by corporate head Kenji Taneda and Tokyo office leader Mitsuhiro Kamiya, the team represented Nomura, Merrill Lynch, Mizuho Securities and other underwriters in four tranches of a $5bn offering of government-guaranteed bonds by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. In other highlights, Taneda led the advice to Toyota on its $1bn offering of senior unsecured notes, and also acted for Daiwa House REIT and its asset manager in an offering of investment units, including the issuance of 222,000 new units.

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)'s Ken Takahashi recently retired from the practice and was replaced by Seiji Matsuzoe, who moved over from White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association). Transaction specialists Gavin Raftery and Masato Honma assisted a number of major car companies with issuances under their respective auto-loan securitisation platforms. Also notable are Seishi Ikeda, who acted for a leading international bank trust in its acquisition of convertible bonds with warrants, and Shinichiro Kitamura, who advised a global technology company and its Japanese subsidiary on a series of offerings of senior notes which were privately placed with investors in the US pursuant to a note purchase agreement. Associate Hiroki Watanabe is also a key name to note.

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