Debevoise & Plimpton LLP > Hong Kong, Hong Kong > Firm Profile

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
21/F AIA CENTRAL
1 CONNAUGHT ROAD, CENTRAL
HONG KONG
Hong Kong

Hong Kong > Investment funds Tier 1

While it is more one dimensional in scope than some of its peers, few in the market come close to matching Debevoise & Plimpton LLP for the quality of work it provides in the private equity fund formation sphere. The firm’s position at the pinnacle of the market is reflected in the calibre and range of clients it acts for, including many of the region’s largest and most sophisticated pan-Asian sponsor clients, as well as smaller sector or country-specific funds. In addition to fundraising, the team, which is led by the ‘technically brilliant’ Gavin Anderson , also advises on managed accounts, joint ventures, co-investments, carried interest planning and complex secondary transactions and investor-side negotiations. ‘Reliable, hardworking and creative’ international counsel Mai Shapiro is a pivotal member of the team, in light of her tax structuring aptitude, both on the intitial fund structuring front, as well as in the context of subsequent downstream investment work. Of counsel Andrew Ostrognai  is also recommended.

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Testimonials

Definitely one of the heavyweights in the Asian investment funds formation space. No compromise on quality.’

They have deep knowledge of the markets and the needs of all constituencies in connection with a fund raise.’

The team continues to impress with its unparalleled knowledge of the industry, solutions-focused advice and impeccable service.’

It displays huge amounts of industry knowledge and its ability to access the Debevoise network in Europe and the USA is of course a real asset.’

‘They all work together as a team, are well organised and co-ordinated, and handle small and large transactions equally well. They have an excellent understanding of our business and their advice is always sound, pragmatic and commercial.’

Gavin Anderson is calm, reassuring, intelligent, creative and commercial.’

‘The outstanding Gavin Anderson is able to distill the essence of complex issues quickly, articulate solutions clearly and negotiate in a friendly way to swiftly achieve resolutions.’

Gavin Anderson is a technically brilliant lawyer, who delivers spot-on and insightful advice on the most complex subjects.’

Hong Kong > Insurance Tier 2

The insurance team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a strong focus on corporate M&A and regulatory work, and it handles transactions in Hong Kong, China and further afield in Asia. It regularly acts for clients on public and private transactions, with a focus on M&A, joint ventures, bancassurance and distribution agreements. Edwin Northover leads the group, which includes recently promoted international counsel Jan Buschmann.

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Testimonials

‘Excellent insurance M&A practice serving the entire region.’

‘Incredibly knowledgeable and very responsive to clients’ needs.’ 

‘The Debevoise lawyers are highly technically proficient, as well as incredibly knowledgeable of both the financial services/insurance sector and the region.’

‘The team is highly professional. We always receive competent and timely advice in the manner which allows us to make business decisions.’

‘Edwin Northover’s advice is always complete, clear, covers all aspects of the deal and is very helpful.’

‘Edwin Northover is able to navigate complex M&A deals with multiple parties.’

‘Debevoise has a very strong team in Hong Kong that we turn to for advice on important M&A matters and for their knowledge of the market.’ 

The team has a very good mix of technical expertise and clear understanding of the commercial and strategic imperatives of the client. This naturally is exactly what clients like us are looking for in our legal adviser – an ability to eliminate or minimise the risks while ensuring that the business objectives are still achieved.’

Key clients

AIA Group

Ant Group

FWD Goup

Prudential Financial

Resolution Group

Realord Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advising AIA Group on its acquisition of BEA Life Limited and 15-year exclusive bancassurance partnership with The Bank of East Asia, Limited (“BEA”).
  • Advising Realord Holdings on the insurance aspects of its takeover of Sincere Limited, a Hong Kong-listed company with a department store and other businesses, including two run-off insurance companies for HK$500m.
  • Advised Resolution Life on all stages of its acquisition of the Australian and New Zealand wealth protection and mature businesses of AMP Limited for AU$3bn.

Hong Kong > Corporate (including M&A) Tier 3

At New York-headquartered Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, the practice is geared to handle domestic and international M&A, dispositions, strategic investment and joint ventures, directing particular emphasis towards asset management deals, cross-border transactions and leveraged acquisitions. William Chua also possesses a wealth of knowledge in private equity, capital market and corporate governance affairs while fellow practice co-head Edwin Northover  provides the group with considerable insurance sector expertise.

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Testimonials

‘Debevoise has a very strong team in Hong Kong that we turn to for advice on important M&A matters and for their knowledge of the market. ’

Practical, pragmatic, timely and commercial advice. A real partner for us and a very reliable one.

Unsurpassed skills with the ability to provide timely and practical advice. True partners in every sense of the word.’

The team is highly professional, we always receive competent and timely advice in the manner which allows us to make business decisions.’

Edwin Northover is a standout. His experience in Asia is evident. He thinks out of the square, comes up with practical solutions. Technically excellent. Someone who I can trust.’

Will Chua is an excellent and experienced practitioner with a broad practice. He’s been a key advisor to us on a number of important matters, offering a key perspective and good insight across the board.’

Edwin is not simply a service provider, he makes every effort to not only understand our business but more importantly, our people. As a result, he is able to provide relevant, efficient and effective advice as a valued member of our team.’

Edwin Northover is the best leading lawyer. His advice is always clear, covers all aspects of the deal and is very helpful. He is able to navigate complex M&A deals with multiple parties.’

Key clients

AIA Group

Ant Group

Boyu Capital

Capital Group

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice

Credit Suisse Asset Management

FWD Group

Hony Capital

Prudential Financial, Inc.

Resolution Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Hony Capital on the $200 million acquisition of a controlling stake in WeWork Greater China Holding Company BV by China-based private equity firm Trustbridge Partners and related roll-up of WeWork’s China business.
  • Advised Ant Group in its binding agreements with Mail.ru Group, USM, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and MegaFon to create a payments joint venture (PJV) and a financial services joint venture (FSJV).
  • Advising Hony Capital on the buyout and restructuring of The WeWork Companies by SoftBank Corporation.

Hong Kong > Dispute resolution: litigation Tier 3

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP‘s litigation practice provides ‘a first-class service‘ to various financial institutions, private equity firms, investment banks and high-net-worth individuals – on contentious mandates, often with a cross-border element. Department heads Mark Johnson and Gareth Hughes specialise in commercial disputes involving white-collar crime and regulatory elements, with recent cases ranging from internal investigations regarding financial malpractice to whistleblowing complaints against senior-level staff. Senior associates Emily Austin and Allison Lau are further key contacts.

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Testimonials

‘The team is excellent; very astute and diligent. They provide a first-class service.’

‘Mark Johnson and Cameron Sim are the stand-out star

‘The team collaborates well and is diverse.’

‘Gareth Hughes is able to articulate very well and in a calm and collected manner.’

Hong Kong > Regulatory: anti-corruption and compliance Tier 3

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘excellent, very astute and diligent’ team is adept at handling internal and government investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption, fraud and false accounting. The group’s work is multi-jurisdictional, often involving agencies in other Asian jurisdictions, the US and Europe; in this respect, it draws on the expertise of teams abroad. Mark Johnson and Gareth Hughes share leadership of the department.

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Testimonials

‘The enthusiasm of the junior lawyers and ability to take charge and propose solutions/next steps.’

‘US-based sanctions expert who is able to help clients think practically about the implications on businesses in Asia. Quick turnaround time.’

‘The team is excellent, very astute and diligent. They provide an excellent service.’

‘Mark Johnson has an encyclopedic knowledge of this area.’

Hong Kong > Dispute resolution: international arbitration Tier 4

Excellent for large scale arbitrations‘, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP‘s international dispute resolution group has a ‘lean but mean Asian presence‘ known for handling high-value banking and finance and private equity disputes. ‘Absolute starMark Johnson leads the team alongside Tony Dymond (who splits his time between Hong Kong and London). Gareth Hughes and the ‘excellent‘ international counsel Cameron Sim are other key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Mark Johnson; Tony Dymond

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Mark Johnson is a very senior and experienced litigator. He has broad strategic view. He is excellent in communication with the client and coordination of the teams.’

‘Debevoise’s global practice is the most impressive overall disputes practice in the world. Its Asia presence, while lean, is sophisticated and omnipresent when it comes to dealing with high-stakes disputes. There is no other US firm that has the kind of depth that Debevoise has globally and this is well reflected by their lean but mean Asian presence.’

‘Mark Johnson is a key player – already known for his litigation practice, but also very adept at arbitration. Cameron Sim is also excellent.’

‘Mark Johnson is an absolute star individual.’

‘Excellent for large scale arbitrations.’

‘They are exceptional when it comes to strategy and execution. They also hold the confidence of the client’.

‘They have a very strong team. They are very astute and diligent.’

Key clients

CH2M (a member of the Jacobs Engineering group)

Hong Kong > Private equity Tier 4

The Hong Kong private equity team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has strong support from its international network, particularly in the US, and acts for a number of prominent private equity firms and investors globally. It has notable experience in buyouts, take-privates and cross-border M&A transactions. William Chua heads the team and is experience in corporate, finance and capital markets transactions.

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Testimonials

‘Will Chua is an excellent partner in this area with strong experience on a range of private equity transactions in the region’.

‘Debevoise’s strength is their global practice’.

‘We have a deep relationship with them in the US where they have worked on many matters for us, so they have strong relationships with our team across different offices and understand our requirements as well as issues that are important to us’.

‘They are able to provide advice rooted in their deep understanding of market practice’.

‘William Chua has been our go-to partner for all matters in Asia-Pacific’.

‘We can always depend on them to get us a response on any legal issue or transactional matter that we reach out to them on’.

‘Will is personable and skilled in the private equity space’.

‘Will’s advice is always thoroughly researched and well reasoned’.

Key clients

Boyu Capital

C2 Capital Partners

Capital Group

Carlyle Group

Goldman Sachs Principal Investments Area

HarbourVest Partners

Hony Capital

Hillhouse Capital

Mirae Assets

SeaTown Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advising Hony Capital on the $200m acquisition of a controlling stake in WeWork Greater China Holding Company BV by China-based private equity firm Trustbridge Partners and related roll-up of WeWork’s China business.
  • Advising Hony Capital on the buyout and restructuring of The WeWork Companies by SoftBank Corporation.

India > Foreign firms

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP lawyers based in the USA, London, Hong Kong and further afield provide a comprehensive range of expertise, often with an India element. It acts for international banks, private equity firms and other investors and for Indian corporates in their investments and capital raisings. Geoffrey Burgess in London and William Chua in Hong Kong co-head the India practice while the ‘outstanding disputes lawyerLord Peter Goldsmith QC is the co-managing partner of the London office and chairs the European and Asian litigation practice. The ‘exceptionalGavin Anderson is a member of the funds practice; his work of late has included advising on the formation of an India venture fund and an infrastructure fund, and US-qualified Geoffrey Kitteridge, who is based in London, is ‘renowned‘ for his private equity and investment funds practice.

Practice head(s):

Geoffrey P. Burgess; Lord Goldsmith QC; William Y. Chua

Other key lawyers:

Geoffrey Kitteridge; Gavin Andersen

Testimonials

‘A unique feature that assures the client the availability of the best brain for a particular issue is the firm’s lockstep arrangement. As a white shoe firm, Debevoise & Plimpton is indeed a one-stop-shop. Having associated with Debevoise & Plimpton for over 15 years, I can vouch for their agility in dealing with the concerns of the client. Debevoise & Plimpton has presence in various geographies and also has excellent collaborative relationship with firms in jurisdictions where they have no presence. Whether it be PE, M&A, fintech, disputes, pharma, white-collar crimes, compliance, FCPA etc. Debevoise & Plimpton has a leadership position both in terms of expertise and as a solution provider. Debevoise & Plimpton’s legal service delivery is value for money. The Debevoise Protocol on Arbitration is a shining example of how clients can make arbitration cost-effective.’

‘Lord Peter Goldsmith is an outstanding disputes lawyer and he is not only a QC but also a senior partner. Geoff Kitteridge is an renowned funds lawyer and his reputation precedes him. Geoff Burgess is a brilliant M&A lawyer whose motto is ‘let us get the deal done’.’

‘They have a very strong grasp of the fundamentals of the business, which allows them to innovate and be flexible. Their client servicing is impeccable.’

‘Gavin Andersen is an exceptional lawyer, with an excellent problem solving attitude and a a calm demeanour.’

Key clients

AIA Group

Capital Group

HarbourVest Partners

Leapfrog Investments

Lightspeed India Partners

Morgan Stanley

PJSC Uralkali

Rolls-Royce plc

The Hinduja Family

Work highlights

  • Advising Lightspeed in the formation of Lightspeed India Partners III, a US$275 million India venture fund.
  • Advising AIA Group (“AIA”) in its long-term strategic partnership with Practo Pte. Ltd. (“Practo”). Through the strategic partnership, AIA’s joint venture in India, Tata AIA Life Insurance Company Limited, will gain preferred access to Practo’s platform and become Practo’s exclusive provider of life insurance solutions and related wellness propositions in India.
  • Advising the Hinduja family, a high-profile, ultra-high-net-worth Indian family, in a claim principally concerning the status, meaning and effect of two documents and their effect on the family’s significant business assets. The assets in question are worth US $ billions.

The firm: Debevoise & Plimpton’s Asia team, based in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, is made up of experienced international corporate lawyers and litigators. In Hong Kong, the firm is established as a local practice, meaning it is able to provide local law advice alongside the international advice provided by its US and English law qualified team.

Debevoise’s local knowledge and experience, together with approximately 800 lawyers in Asia, Europe and the United States, enables it to assist and guide clients in the Asia Pacific region and elsewhere throughout the world.

Areas of practice
M&A in Asia: as an integral part of the firm’s leading global practice, the M&A lawyers in Asia are fluent in domestic and international acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures and strategic investments. The team has a particular focus on advising national and international insurers and other financial institutions. It has a strong track record and deep knowledge of these sectors.

Private equity in Asia: as the only firm to couple fund formation capacity in Asia, Europe and the US with an internationally acclaimed private equity transaction practice, Debevoise is uniquely qualified to assist clients in navigating the complex issues surrounding fund formations, downstream investments and exits.

The team has guided clients through many sophisticated private equity fund formations and investments throughout the Asia-Pacific region, representing sponsors, investors and target companies.

Litigation in Asia: Debevoise’s lawyers have been active in Asia for many years representing clients in international arbitrations and corporate investigations and defense matters. The team represents clients on a wide variety of international dispute resolution, white-collar and regulatory defense matters, Hong Kong regulatory matters and High Court litigation, as well as working with Debevoise’s litigators world-wide on US, UK and European litigation involving a full range of commercial disputes.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Litigation and international dispute resolution Lord Goldsmith QCphgoldsmith@debevoise.com
Litigation and international dispute resolution Gareth Hughesghughes@debevoise.com
Litigation and international dispute resolution Mark Johnsonmjohnson@debevoise.com
Litigation and international dispute resolution Philip Rohlikprohlik@debevoise.com
International dispute resolution Tony Dymondtdymond@debevoise.com
M&A / Private equity William Y Chuawychua@debevoise.com
Mergers and acquisitions Edwin Northoverenorthover@debevoise.com
Fund/investment management Gavin Andersonganderson@debevoise.com
PhotoNamePositionProfile
Mr Gavin Anderson  photo Mr Gavin Anderson Gavin Anderson is based in the Hong Kong office and is a…
William Chua photo William Chua
Lord Peter Goldsmith photo Lord Peter GoldsmithLord (Peter) Goldsmith QC, PC, London Co-Managing Partner and Chair of European…
Gareth Hughes photo Gareth HughesGareth Hughes is a partner in the firm’s Hong Kong office and…
Mark Johnson photo Mark JohnsonMark Johnson is a partner in the firm’s Hong Kong office and…
Mr Edwin Northover  photo Mr Edwin Northover Edwin Northover is an Asia-based corporate partner and Head of Financial Institutions…
Mr Philip Rohlik  photo Mr Philip Rohlik Philip Rohlik is a member of the firm’s Litigation Group whose practice…
Number of lawyers : 800 (approx)
At this office : 30
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