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Corporate and M&A – Foreign firms

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and M&A – Foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Jacqueline Chan - Milbank
    • Brendan Hannigan - Allen & Overy
    • Stephanie Keen - Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee
    • Andrew Martin - Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow
    • Sophie Mathur - Linklaters
    • Chris Moore - Allen & Overy
    • Jonathan Olier - White & Case Pte. Ltd.
    • Jake Robson - Morrison & Foerster (Singapore) LLP
    • Lee Taylor - King & Spalding LLP
    • Nicola Yeomans - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
    • David Zemans - Milbank

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • James Clayton-Payne - Shearman & Sterling LLP
    • Charlotte Evans - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Parveet Singh Gandoak - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    • Chaiyee Oh - Linklaters
    • Tabitha Saw - White & Case Pte. Ltd.
    • Sze Shing Tan - Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

Allen & Overy is praised for its financial institutions M&A expertise, in addition to its track record in technology, consumer goods and retail deals, most notably in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand. The firm is also growing its presence in private equity and financial sponsor deals. Highlights included advising Tokopedia, Indonesia’s leading online marketplace, on its $1.1bn series E fundraising from Alibaba and a number of major private equity and venture funds, and advising Aviva on its buyout of a 51% stake in an existing life insurance joint venture with Vietinbank, the state-owned Vietnamese bank. Chris Moore is an 'excellent professional' who is 'very collaborative' and 'really wants to get the deal done'. Brendan Hannigan is 'a brilliant lawyer and very solutions-oriented', and is noted for his expertise in technology-sector deals. Other key figures include Alun Evans, who has an outstanding record in the Philippines, Yin Mei Lock, who leads the Singapore law practice, and newly promoted partner James Mythen, who 'understands internal business requirements and tailors responses appropriately'.

Clifford Chance is praised for its 'long-term investment' in Singapore, and for its 'great bench-strength';  it 'is definitely the go-to firm for M&A in the region' according to one client and is 'particularly strong in understanding the markets it operates in'. The practice has maintained its standing despite the departure of leading practitioner Lee Taylor to King & Spalding LLP in 2018, continuing to act at the forefront of energy, private equity, financial institutions and consumer goods deals with an especially impressive record in Indonesia. Highlights included advising a consortium led by Global Infrastructure Partners on its $5bn acquisition of Equis Energy's renewable assets in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan. Melissa Ng is 'commercial', 'very measured, sharp and knowledgeable', 'has in-depth experience on Indonesian M&A' and 'is able to help clients navigate the legal and regulatory landscape very well'. Valerie Kong 'is always available to provide sound commercial advice and a first-class service'. Newly elected partner Satbir Walia is 'very easy to deal with, hands on, calm and measured'. Senior associate Alice Ho  is praised for her 'intellect, professionalism and commercial-mindedness'.

Linklaters' department continues to focus on big-ticket transactions and is gaining further traction with local and regional financial sponsors and private equity houses thanks to the efforts of Parthiv Rishi. Highlights included advising Temasek on its $100m investment into an Indonesian ride-hailing and on-demand services company, and acting for ANZ on the sale of its retail and wealth management businesses in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan to DBS Bank. English and Singapore qualified Sophie Mathur is 'outstanding' and 'a quality lawyer', while Niranjan Arasaratnam has had a key role in building the firm's standing in the TMT sector. William Kirschner retired from the firm in 2017. Managing associate Chaiyee Oh is also singled out.

Noted for its ‘fantastic private equity practice’, Milbank has experienced a notable uptick in buy and sell-side engagements from parties involved in contested auctions. The firm has achieved particular prominence in tech and renewable energy sector deals, in key jurisdictions such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Singapore managing partner David Zemans is widely noted for his extensive experience in the region, particularly in Indonesia, and recently advised  a group of global financial institutions on a multibillion-dollar acquisition of geothermal assets in West Java, Indonesia. The 'excellent' Jacqueline Chan handles major M&A and private equity transactions and big-ticket corporate restructurings. Former special counsel Pablo Malay has moved to an in-house position.

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow has 'deep M&A experience', particularly in multi-jurisdictional deals. The Singapore team has an especially strong record in financial institutions, consumer goods and retail deals, and is a growing presence in the energy sector, thanks to the presence of principal Sze Shing Tan. Highlights included advising Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company on its acquisition of First Capital Insurance, Singapore’s largest commercial property and casualty insurer, from Fairfax Asia. Andrew Martin 'knows how to get a deal done in Asia', is 'very commercial and pragmatic'; he has particular expertise in consumer goods and retail, and recently advised Unilever on a joint venture with Europe & Asia Commercial Company in Myanmar. Min-tze Lean, Kelvin Poa and Stephanie Magnus are all notable partners.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's Singapore team has a solid mix of strategic M&A and private equity transactions. It has experienced an uptick in inbound investments by US corporates and continues to have a strong emphasis on energy M&A. Clients include Starbucks, Blackstone and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Recent highlights include advising advising BW Offshore on ICBC Financial Leasing's $275m preference share equity investment into a subsidiary owned by the client, and acting for PT Astra International on its acquisition of a $150m stake in GO-JEK Group, the Indonesian technology platform. Nigel Gleeson was promoted to partner and is experienced in strategic M&A and private equity transactions, while Charlotte Evans was elevated to counsel. Arun Balasubramanian provides further senior level expertise in India and South Asia M&A, and Philip Morgan is another experienced counsel within the team. Gavin MacLaren joined Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is undertaking a greater flow of big-ticket transactions, particularly in the TMT and real estate space; energy and renewables, infrastructure and private equity are also key areas of strength for the Singapore team, which is also handling mandates arising from Chinese and Japanese investment coming into South East Asia. Highlights included advising Temasek on Singapore consortium arrangements with Hosen Capital and New Hope for the S$1bn acquisition of VIP Petfoods from Quadrant Private Equity. Nicola Yeomans heads the South East Asia corporate practice, which includes Mark Robinson, who is noted for his TMT expertise and advised on headline deals such as Softbank's investment in Grab, the South East Asia online transportation and payments platform. Other key figures include the 'very client-focused' Austin Sweeney, Brian Scott, who is recommended for deals in Indonesia, and David Clinch, who is a leading energy sector specialist.

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee has broad geographic and industry coverage, and attracts praise for its  'outstanding customer service', 'consistent high-quality advice', and 'comprehensive and seamless transactional assistance'.  The firm has experienced particular growth in the TMT, e-commerce, consumer, and power and renewables sectors, in addition to being noted for its mid-market private equity credentials. Singapore, India, the Philippines, Indonesia and China are amongst the firm's key focus jurisdictions. Highlights included advising Philippines Renewable Energy Holdings on its $1.3bn acquisition of a minority stake in Energy Development Corporation, the listed renewable energy company. Stephanie Keen 'is one of the best private equity practitioners in the region', is 'razor-sharp, solutions-oriented and responsive' and 'committed in getting the best results for her clients'. Mark Cooper is noted for power and renewables, consumer and tech deals, and has 'a commercial understanding of the important issues on major transactions'. Associate Ally Smith  'is a rising star and one to watch'.

Jones Day's team has experienced notable growth in outbound transactions into the US for Singapore and India-based clients, and is increasingly being recognised for its experience in private equity transactions, including leveraged buyouts and minority investments, and real estate private equity deals. The team represents a number of local and regional private equity houses; recent highlights include advising PAG, one of Asia's largest alternative asset management firms, on an investment from the Blackstone Strategic Capital Holdings Fund. It also represented Park Place Technologies on its acquisition of Axentel Technologies' businesses in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines. China outbound transactions are also at the heart of the practice, thanks in part to the presence of Elizabeth ColeDennis Barsky is a 'sophisticated lawyer' who is 'rated as one of the most technical practitioners out there'. Ben Witherall was promoted to of counsel and is noted for his M&A expertise. Darren Murphy transferred to Melbourne.

Latham & Watkins LLP is better known for capital markets work, but in partners Sharon Lau and Michael Sturrock it has a wealth of M&A and private equity transactions experience. Working in concert with the Hong Kong office, the Singapore team has upped its standing in private equity; in a recent highlight, practitioners from both offices advised Techcombank on a proposed $373m investment from Warburg Pincus. Other clients include Fullerton Healthcare, Broadcom, IntApp, GIC and Partners Group. M&A and private equity specialist Marcus Lee was elevated to the partnership in 2018.

Norton Rose Fulbright is a leading player in financial institutions (including insurance), shipping and transport, mining and commodities, and private equity transactions. India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos and Vietnam are key markets for the team, which is praised for its 'innovation' and 'global reach'. Sheela Moorthy leads the team, which includes the 'very personable and approachable' Craig LovelessAnna Tipping is also recommended for insurance-sector deals.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP handles a high market share of big-ticket M&A transactions in the region. The Singapore team works closely with the Hong Kong office, recently advising on headline deals such as Nesta Holdings' $11.7bn going-private acquisition of Global Logistic Properties (Singapore); head of the Singapore office Rajeev Duggal was one of the lead partners on the deal. The Singapore department also had a pivotal role in advising Equis Funds Group (Singapore) on its $5bn sale of Equis Energy (Singapore) to Global Infrastructure Partners and co-investors; this was the largest renewable energy acquisition in history. The Hong Kong-based Jonathan Stone has a significant focus on South East Asia and regularly works from the Singapore office. Counsel Parveet Singh Gandoak is also singled out.

White & Case Pte. Ltd. has an increasingly regional practice, building on its impressive track record in Indonesia-related deals. Clients include CBRE Global Investors, CVC Capital Partners, Equis Energy, Saudi Aramco, Puma Energy and Trafigura. The firm advised e-Shang Redwood on a series of transactions, involving investments into its managed funds and its parent holding company. It also represented Chiyoda on the restructuring of its investment in EMAS Chiyoda Subsea, a joint venture company owned by Chiyoda Corporation, NYK Shipping Lines and Ezra Holdings Ltd. Jonathan Olier is 'a class act', 'a very smart guy', 'strong from a technical perspective' and 'has great humanity', while Jon Bowden is 'very hands-on and responsive'. Counsel Tabitha Saw is noted for private equity real estate transactions.

HFW Singapore LLP's Brian Gordon heads the global corporate practice and has an especially strong record in mining and resources. The firm's presence in this sector was further enhanced by the launch of a Jakarta presence in November 2017. Moreover the firm recruited energy and resources specialist Alistair Duffield, formerly the managing partner of Berwin Leighton Paisner's South East Asia practice. The Singapore team advised Stratex International, the AIM-quoted gold exploration and development company, on the potential acquisition of ASX-listed Crusader Resources. Of counsel Aaron Kok is 'a tremendous asset' with 'good legal knowledge and operational understanding'.

King & Spalding LLP further strengthened its energy M&A credentials with the hire of mainstream M&A and private equity specialist and 'quality operator' Lee Taylor from Clifford Chance in January 2018. Taylor's arrival has also added significant capabilities in financial services, consumer goods, retail and transport M&A. The wider Singapore team has extensive energy M&A experience; recent highlights include advising AES on the $1.05bn auction sale of its majority holding in its business in the Philippines to SMC Global Power Holdings. It also represented SEB, the public power utility in Sarawak (Malaysia), on the acquisition of the 2,400MW Bakun hydropower project. Kelly Malone, Simon Cowled, Merrick White and Richard Nelson provide extensive energy sector M&A experience.

Morrison & Foerster (Singapore) LLP has an impressive record in big-ticket transactions, most notably in the real estate, technology, financial institutions and private equity spaces, acting for a number of regional players, Japanese clients and US corporates. The practice acted for JT International on its $936m acquisition of tobacco business assets of Mighty Corporation, the second largest manufacturer and distributor of cigarettes in the Philippines. Jake Robson is praised for 'his out of the box solutions and practicality' and Shirin Tang is 'proactive, experienced and efficient, has commercial sense and is able to flag up the key issues'. Of counsel Maria Steeples provides further senior-level gravitas.

Shearman & Sterling LLP is heavily focused on private equity and has a strong record in energy M&A. Clients include Goldman Sachs, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Temasek, Capital Square Partners, Petronas and Marubeni. The practice advised Petronas on the completion of a $8bn investment by Saudi Aramco in PETRONAS’ Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Johor State, Malaysia. It also advised Capital Square Partners, the Singapore-based private equity house on its acquisition of ESM Holdings.  Sidharth Bhasin is 'commercial, creative in problem solving and highly responsive'. Counsel James Clayton-Payne is also recommended, as is partner Anthony Patten, who provides additional energy sector expertise.

Stephenson Harwood LLP's 'very client-focused', 'responsive' and 'pragmatic' team has a strong reputation for technology, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and healthcare transactions, and is making an impression in private equity and venture capital deals. The practice operates across Southeast Asia with a particular emphasis on key jurisdictions such as Myanmar and Vietnam, and is praised for delivering 'high-quality, tailored work to an international standard'. Recent highlights include advising Chemopharm, the Malaysian medical devices distribution group, on the sale of a majority stake to the Everstone Group via its platform Everlife. It also advised Singapore Technologies Aerospace on its divestment of a 5% equity stake in ST Aerospace (Guangzhou) Aviation Services Company, a joint venture with Guangdong Airport Authority, to Japan Airlines. Key figures include Tom Platts, who is 'very smart and solutions driven'; George Cyriac, who is 'a safe pair of hands' and noted for his private equity expertise; of counsel Helen Rhind-Hufnagel; and associate Mark Stephens, who 'understands his clients and is very commercial'.

Ashurst LLP's corporate practice has a strong focus on energy, resources and infrastructure, most notably in Indonesia. Clients include Vale International, Mayur Resources, GPC Asia Pacific and The Silanna Group. Department head Simon Brown led the team advising Mayur Resources, a Singapore-based company with indirect mining operations in Papua New Guinea, on its listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. He and the team are praised for 'high levels of efficiency', 'good response times', 'good industry knowledge', 'an ability to find alternative solutions' and a 'business-oriented' approach. Jon Ornolfsson and Daniel Reinbott are recommended for oil and gas M&A.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is continue to build its standing in Myanmar-related transactions, with recent work including advice to a group of vendors including YOMA Strategic Holdings and First Myanmar Investment Company on a reorganisation, spin-off and listing of their tourism-related assets through the reverse takeover of Catalist-listed SHC Capital Asia. The team is 'responsive and practical' and 'works hard to meet super tight timelines'. Manoj Purush attracts praise for his 'approachability' and 'patience when dealing with difficult counterparties'.

Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore is noted for its insurance-driven practice, which is particularly active for Chinese insurers; hospitality and leisure is another growth segment for the firm. The Singapore team advised Shenzhen Qianhai Financial and Shenzhen Investment Holdings, the joint owners of Asia Investment Capital Holdings, on its proposed acquisition of ACR Capital Holdings. It also acted for Chubb in its 15-year regional general insurance distribution arrangement with DBS Bank. Team leader Ian Stewart has plenty of big-ticket deal experience, while Benjamin Hirasawa is noted for hospitality transactions and Justin Tan for energy and commodities deals. Thomas Choo was promoted to partner in May 2018.

CMS' Singapore office remains at the forefront of TMT and venture capital deals, despite the departure of Andrew Stott, who launched Stott Advisory. Toby Grainger is now leading the practice, which has achieved prominence through its advice on a number of venture capital funding rounds. Highlights included advising a gaming startup on a seed funding round led by a consortium of investors. While Indonesia continues to be a key jurisdiction for Grainger and the team, Myanmar is becoming increasingly important: the firm advised Myanmar Strategic Holdings on its joint venture with Auston Institute of Management to establish and operate a higher education college in Yangon.

DLA Piper has a strong regional profile with a notable record in energy, oil and gas, and commodities. Recent highlights include advising PT Karya Dibya Mahardhika, the Indonesian tobacco company, on its $677m sale to Japan Tobacco International. Joe Bauerschmidt  is recognised for his expertise in Thailand deals, though he has an impressive record across the region. Heng Loong Cheong splits his time between Singapore and Hong Kong, and is recommended for his coordination of multi-jurisdictional transactions.

Duane Morris & Selvam LLP has a growing track record in the tech (including fintech) and telecoms sectors, most notably in Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Vietnam. It advised PT Profesional Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Protelindo) on its acquisition of PT Komet Infra Nusantara, the Indonesian telecommunications tower company. In addition to handling traditional M&A mandates, it has experienced a significant rise in venture capital work. Energy, hospitality and pharmaceuticals are additional areas of strength for the Singapore team, which has built a loyal following among Chinese and Japanese clients. Krishna RamachandraLeon Yee, Gerard Hekker, Mark Wong and Ramiro Rodriguez comprise a potent senior bench.

Gibson Dunn has an established Singapore presence and a particularly strong record in India deals. It advised Kimberly-Clark on its purchase of Hindustan Unilever's 50% stake in Kimberly Clark Lever, a joint venture between the client and Hindustan Unilever. Key figures include Jai Pathak, the head of the Singapore office, and Brad Roach, who is recommended for energy sector transactions.

K&L Gates has a strong focus on technology, including fintech, medtech and social media. It primarily operates in the small to mid-cap space. The team is 'excellent', 'very responsive', 'able to deliver high-quality legal advice and innovative commercial solutions' and 'brings significant value to the table'. It advised Nova Satra, the Singapore-based molecular diagnostics company, on an $8m investment from the Genting Group.  Nicholas Hanna leads the team, which includes Mark Tan, who is 'technically excellent, possesses impressive intellectual capability' and  'acts as a caretaker of the transaction as if it were his own'.

Mayer Brown's Singapore office continues to leverage the firm's potent Asia Pacific platform. The team has a fine record in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and is increasingly active in India, following the arrival of a prominent banking and finance team led by Kayal Sachi from Allen & Overy. That new team has also given the corporate practice even greater credibility in private equity; the corporate department has worked on a series of mid-market deals for TPG Capital and other financial sponsors. Singapore partner Rod Brown was part of a cross-office team that advised TPG Capital on its on its proposed $150m acquisition of majority stake in a Vietnamese educational institution. Beyond private equity, the firm is active in strategic M&A for a range of multinationals, including Japanese trading houses. It also advised PT CT Corpora, the Indonesian conglomerate, on the disposal of shares held by its subsidiary PT Mega Corpora in PT Asuransi Jiwa Mega Indonesia to Prudential US.

Reed Smith LLP has a particularly strong track record in energy and resources mandates, and is 'commercially savvy', 'good value for money', 'committed' and delivers 'good turnaround times'. Matthew Gorman is 'professional, persistent and confident', 'a very seasoned lawyer' who 'combines technical capability with a commercial approach'. Kohe Hasan, a fluent Malay and Bahasa Indonesia speaker, is noted for energy deals in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Corporate and M&A – Local firms

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and M&A – Local firms
  2. Leading individuals

Allen & Gledhill LLP's sizeable team, which features a deep bench of experienced partners, is frequently engaged in the biggest-ticket deals in the market. Moreover, it is building its presence in private equity, venture capital and the startup environment, including fintech. Christian Chin led the team advising Grab on its acquisition of the South East Asia operations and assets of Uber Technologies, in return for a 27.5% stake in Grab. In other headline deals, a team led by Lim Mei advised Global Logistics Properties (GLP) and JP Morgan (as financial adviser to GLP) on the S$16bn sale of GLP to Nesta Investment Holdings; this was Asia's largest private equity buyout. The firm also advised Broadcom on its redomiciliation from Singapore to the US. Other key figures in the 'highly competent and responsive' include Richard Young, who is 'very sensible and gets things across the line', Andrew M LimChristopher KohPrawiro Widjaja and Lee Kee Yeng.

WongPartnership LLP is a key player in the market, particularly in public and private M&A, and private equity transactions, and has experienced an uptick in venture capital engagements. The firm advised a consortium led by Yanlord Land Group and Perennial Real Estate on the acquisition of an 33% stake in United Engineers and a 30% stake in WBL Corporation, resulting in the consortium having to make mandatory general offers for the remaining stock units and preference shares of United Engineers. In private equity, it advised KKR in a series of transactions, including the acquisition by Demeter Indo Investment, an affiliate of KKR Asian Fund III, of a 13% stake in PT Nippon Indosari Corpindo, Indonesia’s leading mass market bread company, from Bonlight Investments Limited. The 'very strong and experienced M&A team' is 'commercial' with 'in depth regulatory knowledge'. Ng Wai King is 'very commanding and drives a hard bargain, but is able to see all sides', 'knows the issues and approaches the regulators in the right way'. Andrew Ang is praised for his 'knowledge of key stakeholder behaviour and precedents' and his ability to 'offer solutions to myriad of options with listed companies'. Low Kah Keong  is 'very commercial' with 'innovative ideas for when parties are stuck'. Quak Fi Ling has 'in-depth knowledge', is 'able to negotiate well' and is 'detailed in her work'. Mark Choy is also recommended.

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC's team, which is 'always responsive with deep industrial knowledge', is growing its ranks of foreign-qualified lawyers, and is increasing its share of cross-border and multinational deals. It advised IndoSpace on the formation of a joint venture with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) to focus on acquiring modern logistics facilities in India. The Singapore team is developing a strong connection to the firm's offices in Boston, Silicon Valley, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and has experienced strong deal inflow from the US and high levels of activity related to indonesia, Malaysia and India. Other highlights included advising Uber Technologies on its proposed strategic alliance with ComfortDelGro.  Suet-Fern Lee has an outstanding international reputation, as does Wai Ming Yap, while Daniel Yong  and Edward Bennett are recommended for private equity and financial sponsor-driven deals.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP is making a further impression in both public and private M&A, and is gaining market share across South East Asia, including deals in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. Clients include a mix of multinational corporates, private equity houses and other financial sponsors. The firm advised GIC, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund, as the largest shareholder in Global Logistics Properties (GLP) in its $16bn sale to Nesta Investment Holdings. Clients describe the team as 'responsive, commercial and practical' with 'in-depth industry knowledge in a number of sectors' and highlight its expertise in Chinese investments in South East Asia. Sandy Foo is a 'go-to person when you need a safe pair of hands to get things done'. Lawrence Tan is 'responsive and prompt under tight timelines', 'provides clear and detailed analysis of legal issues and possible solutions' and is 'valued for his experience in takeovers and privatisations'. Evelyn Wee has 'a wealth of experience and is always highly responsive and helpful'. Chia Kim Huat 'has the big picture in mind', is 'a skilled negotiator' and is 'helpful in understanding the parties’ underlying concerns and in getting the parties to reach a resolution'. Lim Wee Han, who is also Malaysian qualified, and Abdul Jabbar bin Karam Din are 'strong corporate and M&A lawyers' who are both 'highly personable and a delight to work with'.

TSMP Law Corporation has a high market share of public M&A transactions involving Singapore entities. The firm has attracted a number of engagements from Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE) investors, thanks in part to the highly reputed Stefanie Yuen Thio. She and the team advised  HNA Group, the Chinese conglomerate, on its voluntary S$1.4bn take-over offer to privatise CWT, the Singapore logistics company. The firm also advised SGX Mainboard-listed mm2 Asia on its S$230m acquisition of CathayCineplexes, the Singapore cinema chain. The firm has an equally impressive record in private M&A transactions, notably those in the healthcare and education sectors. Fintech, media and telecoms are also growth areas for the firm.

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow combines excellent Singapore law credentials with a top international profile across South East Asia. Ai Ai Wong advised Fitness First on the formation of a joint venture with Celebrity Fitness to acquire the entire issued share capital of various Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First subsidiaries. Min-tze Lean advised Fortis Healthcare, India’s second-largest private hospital chain, on its proposed acquisition of the asset portfolio of RHT Health Trust, the Singapore-listed business trust.

Bird & Bird ATMD LLP 's Singapore practice is closely aligned with the firm's global emphasis on new technology, digital and life sciences. The firm is notably active in private equity-backed deals, cross-border transactions and venture capital financings. Energy, real estate and infrastructure are also fortes for the team. Clients include Sealed Air, Singapore Press Holdings, Dow Chemical Pacific Singapore, Cityneon Holdings, Quantum Inventions and ST Engineering Ventures Fund. It advised New York-listed Sealed Air on its $100m acquisition of Fagerdala Singapore,  the manufacturer and fabricator of polyethylene foam. The team is praised for its 'strong commercial sense', 'good allocation of resources' and 'quick turnaround times'. Marcus Chow 'watches out for clients' interests', 'makes sound judgments very quickly' and is praised for his private equity expertise. Sandra Seah is noted for energy, real estate and infrastructure deals and Ken Cheung is also recommended for energy transactions.

CNPLaw LLP has strong cross-border credentials and has advised on a series of transactions in the fintech sector, including representing Singapore-listed Silverlake Axis, the banking software solutions provider, on its acquisition of a group of three Malaysian-incorporated private companies that operate in the fintech space. Clients highlight the firm's expertise in funds, regulatory and takeover code issues, and its 'responsive and commercial' approach. Amit Dhume is recognised for funds-related M&A and Bill Jamieson brings further senior-level credibility; both are regarded as 'responsive and capable' and 'commercial'. Ken Chia is noted for healthcare sector transactions.

Dentons Rodyk has seen an uptick in cross-border deal activity, most notably in the technology sector and involving Chinese entities. It advised Zhejiang Geely on its proposed investments in Proton Holdings and Lotus Advance Technologies, the automotive companies. Ng Eng Leng and Valerie Ong are key partners, along with Kenneth Oh who 'possesses good business acumen and has an ability to provide solutions in complex M&A structuring'. Newly elevated partner Li Chuan Hsu is 'very sharp', 'patient and professional' and has 'in depth knowledge of China legal practice'.

Drew & Napier LLC 's corporate practice has maintained a solid market share of public M&A and take private transactions. Clients include Sealed Air, FWD Group, Evercore Asia (Singapore) and CVC Capital Partners. The firm 'is incredibly strong in matters involving listed companies', 'is very well-coordinated, highly attentive and hands-on', with 'an exceptional ability to both anticipate issues and recommend solutions'. It advised Evercore Asia (Singapore), the independent financial adviser to the independent directors of Global Logistic Properties (GLP), on the $12bn acquisition of GLP by Nesta Investment Holdings.  Steven Lo has 'a razor-sharp ability to comprehend not just the technical structure but also the commercial dynamics of a takeover'  and 'can steer clients in the right strategic direction'. Experienced consultant Gary Pryke and partner Julian Kwek, who heads the Indonesia desk, are also recommended. Tan Teng Sen is 'an-up-and-coming partner' who provides 'amazing response times, a meticulous approach and an ability to work well under pressure'; he is recommended as 'a counsel of choice to investment banks and financial advisers'.

Pinsent Masons MPillay is recommended for cross-border transactions in South East Asia, particularly those involving Chinese investors. It is especially noted for deals connected to China's Belt and Road programme and is praised for its 'industry knowledge' and 'ability to effectively negotiate with sellers’ management and legal teams without compromising the client's position'; it is commended for its 'pragmatic and commercial approach to resolving issues' and for 'going the extra mile to turn documents and advice around'. The team advised China Harbour Engineering on its joint venture with Ceylon Hotels Maldives for the development, construction and operation of a 85 to 100 room resort in the Maldives. Perry Yuen is 'a very solid pair of hands' and 'has a knack for finding workable solutions and presenting information and options in a very clear manner'.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP is steadily increasing its market share of higher-value deals, including public takeover work. It provides 'Magic Circle quality of advice' and 'exceptional value'. The young partnership team has substantial international law firm experience and has deep connections to banks, other financial institutions and multinational corporates. It advised the joint financial advisers to Nesta Investment Holdings on its S$16bn takeover of Global Logistic Properties. It also acted for TVS Asianics, the logistics service provider, in its acquisition of Pan Asia Logistics Group’s freight forwarding and contract logistics businesses. David Chong and Teo Mae Shaan are praised for their 'quality of advice, international experience, communication and intensity of engagement'. Michelle Phang, who previously practised in London, and Ho Ying Ming are also key partners, with the latter having a strong background in private equity and venture capital. Gwendolyn Gn provides further public takeover experience.

Duane Morris & Selvam LLP has a particularly strong record in jurisdictions such as Myanmar and Vietnam; the international firm has offices in both countries as well as further north in Shanghai and Taipei. It has built an impressive Asian client base with a growing number of Chinese and Indonesian clients. Gerard Hekker has led a series of high-profile deals for Indonesian clients, including advising PT. Profesional Telekomunikasi Indonesia on its $102m acquisition of PT. Komet Infra Nusantara, the Indonesian telecommunications tower company. The Singapore office is also building its standing in the fintech and technology sector. Krishna Ramachandra is 'extremely knowledgeable, professional and a master in networking'. Leon Yee heads the China desk, which includes Mark Wong, an experienced figure in cross-border deals involving Chinese entities.

Eversheds Harry Elias fields a sizeable team led by four partners that represents a growing number of locally listed corporates, private equity and venture capital funds, and has experienced a steady increase in outbound investment work. Healthcare and education are key traditional sectors for the firm, which is also strong in transport, real estate and technology. Sze-Hui Goh advised Sequoia Capital on a series of investments in the region, including its $11m Series B investment in Insider, a growth management platform for marketers. Also of note, Sze-Hui Goh and Claudia Teo advised Rich Capital on its proposed acquisition of property at No. 6 Kim Chuan Terrace, Singapore.

Lee & Lee has an extensive track record handling transactions involving Singapore-listed companies and China-based businesses. It advised Singapore-listed Wheelock Properties on the delisting offer and privatisation bid by Wheelock and Co. It also advised Singapore-listed Nutryfarm International on its acquisition of a 45% stake in First Linkage, the China-based internet service provider. Adrian Chan heads the department.

Prolegis LLC has a formal law alliance (FLA) with Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and is particularly adept in cross-border transactions. Clients highlight its  'extensive experience in complicated corporate matters', 'proactive' approach and 'value-for-money package'. It advised Temasek, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund, which as part of an investor consortium acquired Real Pet Food Company. Founding partner Ban Leong Oo is praised for his 'intellect, commercial pragmatism and commitment to client service'; he 'inspires confidence, is incredibly persuasive in an unconfrontational way and is a smooth and strategic operator'. Safa Zahedi 'is smart, hardworking and incisive', 'extremely commercial and pragmatic' and 'a trusted business adviser that adds value beyond what is expected of a traditional legal adviser'. Eugene Lee has also made a significant impact in private equity and financial sponsor-driven transactions.

Quahe Woo & Palmer LLC has emerged as a genuine force in cross-border M&A and private equity transactions. Clients include RRJ Management (HK), Accuron Technologies and Heliconia Capital Management. It advised several key shareholders of the Futuristic Group on the sale of up to a 75% equity interest to V3 Group, the holding company of the OSIM Group. The team is 'prompt, proactive and definitely goes the extra mile' and 'considers commercial considerations to give balanced advice'. Kenneth Leong is 'very proactive and has a broad perspective', is 'an outstanding problem solver' and is 'without doubt one of the best young M&A partners in Singapore', according to one client.

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP is active in transactions throughout South East Asia and has strong ties to Indonesia and Vietnam. Technology and life sciences deals are at the heart of the practice, with education and medtech increasing areas of activity. The firm is also recognised for its work with early-stage and startup companies. It advised DPDgroup-Geopost, a subsidiary of the French Post Office, in connection with its investment in Ninja Van, a technology-enabled last mile logistics specialist based in Singapore. The team 'exceeds expectations' on responsiveness and value for money, and impresses with its 'knowledge of the biotech industry'. Azman Jaafar is noted for Indonesia deals and Erwan Barre, who is admitted in New York and Paris, provides an 'exceptionally tailored service' and has the 'rare quality of being able to understand a business problem before solving it with his legal knowledge'.

Straits Law Practice LLC retains a strong leaning towards India-related transactions and mid-cap listed company deals. The firm's 'well-organised, solid team' has 'a wealth of experience and expertise in a range of legal areas'. M Rajaram is a key figure in India-related transactions and Robert Wong has extensive listed company deal experience; he led the team that advised Europtronic Group on its delisting from SGX through an exit offer made by Project Goodwill, a special purpose vehicle incorporated by Huang Chuang Shueh-Ou, a director and controlling shareholder of Europtronic Group. Chan Lai-Foong 'exudes confidence, has tremendous patience and has an innate ability to set the client at ease'.

Virtus Law LLP - Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance has an impressive record in TMT deals, including Series A financings into fintech and other tech companies. Parikhit Sarma has joined from Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC to augment the team's India transactions expertise. Clients include ST Aerospace, CLSA Capital Partners and Japan South East Asia Growth Fund. The team advised Luxoft on its acquisition of DerivIT Solutions. Elaine Beh leads the team.

Withers KhattarWong LLP has a growing reputation in the market with the firm advising a range of institutional clients and high net-worth individuals, especially wealthy Indonesians. It has experienced growth in high-value and cross-border deals, including those with a strong intellectual property component. Highlights included advising Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform, on its investment into and partnership with oBike, the regional bike-sharing business. The team is also active in fund investments, drawing on the firm's leading tax expertise. Key figures include Farhana Siddiqui, who has fund structuring and public takeover expertise, and Winston Seow, who is recommended for Indonesia-related deals and energy transactions.

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