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Singapore > Corporate and M&A > Corporate and M&A – Local firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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.

Colin Ng & Partners 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 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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