Next Generation Partners :Gaiben

Rising Stars: Gaiben

Firms To Watch: TMT: International firms and joint ventures

Co-founder Masataka Ogasawara leads the team at ZeLo, a Foreign Law Joint Enterprise. The firm is particularly adept at providing assistance to SMEs and startups within various TMT industries.

TMT: International firms and joint ventures in Japan

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills, headed by the 'extremely reliable' Graeme Preston, continues to maintain its strong reputation for advising Japanese clients on the full spectrum of international TMT-related mandates. Leveraging its strong global network, the team is well equipped to handle a wide range of matters, including transfer agreements, licensing, data privacy, in addition to providing commercial and regulatory advice. Other notable individuals include David Gilmore, who is a disputes specialist which has vast experience in dealing with complex matters within the TMT sector, as well as Joseph Fisher, who is praised for his 'excellent' commercial awareness, regularly advising on prominent cross-border M&A mandates.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Preston

Other key lawyers:

David Gilmore; Joseph Fisher


‘The HSF team has a deep understanding of our business and commercial factors affecting our decision making. The team seems to be very efficiently structured with close collaboration including with other HSF offices in accordance with the specific requirements of each transaction.’

‘Advice is consistently well considered, commercial and practical.’

‘Graeme Preston is highly attentive to our needs and is an extremely reliable advisor.’

Key clients

SoftBank KK

Sumitomo Corporation

International Data Corporation (IDC)

Work highlights

  • Acted for Bridgestone Corporation on its acquisition, through a competitive process, of Otraco International Pty Ltd. (Otraco), an Australian company engaged in the automotive services sector specifically for mining vehicles, including providing tyre exchanging and other services at mining sites.
  • Acted for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in its corporate venture capital minority investment in Stanley Robotics, a French company developing autonomous vehicle solutions.
  • Acted for Capgemini as global counsel on its acquisition of Multibook, a Japan-based IT company that provides services including system consulting service, global helpdesk service, and cloud-based accounting tools.

Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise

Housing a reputable data & technology transactions team, Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise is well known for is expertise in mandates concerning international IP transactions. The group has a wealth of experience in acting for high-profile clients across the technology sector. Senior associate Benjamin Han primarily focuses on IP and commercial matters concerning technology, telecommunications, licensing, and pharmaceuticals. Stuart Beraha has since retired.

Other key lawyers:

Benjamin Han

Work highlights

Morrison Foerster

Morrison Foerster is well known for its deep expertise in technology transactions and has experience in handling a broad range of mandates, ranging from the structuring and negotiation of license agreements to patent litigation settlements and partnering transactions. Headed by Masato Hayakawa, the team has a great deal of knowledge surrounding the IP aspects of M&A across a variety of industries, advising its diverse client roster which notably includes semiconductor technology companies, biotechnology corporates, and financial institutions. Yukihiro Terazawa leads the privacy and data protection practice at the firm and also has a vast amount of experience handling IP matters for tech companies. Seth Graham is another key name to note within the team, due to his experience regarding licensing agreements, technology transfers, and joint development activities.

Practice head(s):

Masato Hayakawa

Other key lawyers:

Seth Graham; Yukihiro Terazawa


‘Seth Graham has been our go-to lawyer for IP and cross-border matters. Seth and his team’s talent and care in structuring transactions, navigating changing regulations, and handling delicate situations and disputes have consistently impressed me and everyone I have referred to them.’

‘Seth Graham has great negotiation skills.’

Key clients

SoftBank Group

SoftBank Corporation

TDK Corporation

Fujitsu Limited

Renesas Electronics Corporation

ON Semiconductor Corporation (onsemi)

Tencent Holdings Limited

NTT Communications

NTT Ltd.

Dassault Systèmes KK

Arm Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented SoftBank Group Corp. and SoftBank Vision Fund in the proposed $65bn sale of UK-headquartered multinational semiconductor and software design company Arm Limited to leading U.S. chip company NVIDIA.
  • Represented TDK Corporation and Hong Kong subsidiary, Amperex Technologies Limited in a business alliance with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited.
  • Represented onsemi in the carve-out and sale of two of semiconductor fabrication facilities in the U.S. and of one Japan facility.

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

The TMT team at Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise), co-headed by Kensaku Takase and Yutaka Kimura, is well known for its work within the fintech sector, advising numerous financial institutions and technology companies. Among other matters, the TMT team regularly deals with M&A and joint ventures, IP issues, e-commerce, and data protection. Takase primarily focuses on IT related matters, including outsourcing, licensing, and cloud based solutions. Kimura advises both domestic and global clients, such as investment banks and start-ups on joint ventures and M&A.

Practice head(s):

Kensaku Takase; Yutaka Kimura


‘Mr. Kimura and his associates were great. Their flexibility and creativity are amazing.’

‘From our experience, Baker McKenzie is leading the market in Tokyo for mid-sized cross border matters. They are highly connected to many major players in the business arena in Japan and act in a very professional manner in the matters they are involved in.’

‘I have worked with Yutaka Kimura on numerous occasions. Yutaka is a very experienced cross-border M&A practitioner. His diverse personal international experience is well demonstrated in his professional approach and work ethic.’

Key clients

Benesse Holdings, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Acted for Benesse Holdings, Inc. on its capital and business alliance agreement with SkyHive Technologies Holdings Inc.

White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association)

The team at White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) has vast experience in advising on matters involving M&A and IP, exhibiting skill when advising on emerging areas such as cryptocurrency, robotics, virtual reality, and e-sports. Practice co-head Jun Usami handles a variety of TMT transactions for both Japanese and international IT companies, while co-head Nels Hansen advises on venture capital transactions and M&A. Naoya Shiota is also recommended across the automotive, manufacturing, and entertainment sectors.

Practice head(s):

Jun Usami; Nels Hansen

Other key lawyers:

Naoya Shiota


‘The White & Case team has a very broad knowledge base. Our investment covers the US, EU, and Asia. The legal practices are different from each other and the White & Case team is able to help us verify the legal concerns following each market’s legal framework.’

‘I appreciate Nels Hansen’s work. He is very efficient. He is super responsive and has deep knowledge on all venture investment practices. He is able to provide me advice, not just on the legal documents, but also share his past experienced in similar situations. He can identify concerns outside of the legal documents themselves.’

Key clients

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

Yamauchi No.10 Family Office

gumi Cryptos Capital Fund II, LP and gumi Cryptos Capital Fund II Parallel, LP

double jump tokyo Inc.

Thirdverse, Co., Ltd

Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Tokyo-based) on its acquisition of Motum AB from Accent Equity 2012 L.P.
  • Advised Yamauchi No.10 Family Office in various investments.
  • Acted for gumi Cryptos Capital Fund II, LP and gumi Cryptos Capital Fund II Parallel, LP, advising on its multiple investments in approximately 30 start-ups across the globe.