Firm Profile > Morrison & Foerster > Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Morrison & Foerster
EDINBURGH TOWER 33/F, THE LANDMARK
15 QUEEN'S ROAD CENTRAL
HONG KONG
Hong Kong

Investment funds Tier 2

Morrison & Foerster focuses on private equity funds, real estate funds and venture capital funds. The firm advises on matters in Greater China and across Asia and is adept at handling SFC licensing matters and regulatory issues. Clients include Asia-based sponsors and investors, which it advises on the formation, structuring and related activities of buyout funds, growth capital funds, co-investment vehicles and other alternative investment funds. The team is headed by fund formation specialist Jason Nelms, who splits his time between Singapore, China and Hong Kong, and private equity expert Serena Tan, who is based in China and Hong Kong. The team also has an in-house tax specialist in the shape of Matthew Lau, who advises on US and international tax issues.

Practice head(s):

Jason Nelms (Singapore/China/Hong Kong); Serena Tan (China/Hong Kong)

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Lau; Stephen Birkett 

Testimonials

‘Very responsive and complete deliverables within the agreed timeline’

‘They have the ability to communicate the issues clearly, and the related policies and suggestions’

‘Proactive in thinking about different suggestions and alternatives’

‘The firm has served many different funds across the world and thus has deep knowledge in all the issues that we face commonly’

Key clients

Ally Bridge Group

China Great Wall Asset Management Co., Ltd.

E15 VC

Fosun International Group

FWD Group Management Holdings Ltd

GLP PTE, Ltd. (GLP)

GLP China

Hony Capital

IndoSpace

Intudo Ventures

Lamivoie Capital

Sailing Capital

Savills Investment Management

Vectr Ventures

TMT Tier 2

Morrison & Foerster has 'significant depth of knowledge and experience' across the gamut of operational and transactional matters affecting clients in the sector. Leveraging the firm's strong technology pedigree in the US, the team is regularly instructed to provide support to US tech clients looking to expand into Greater China. Praised for his 'excellent industry and technical knowledge', team head Gordon Milner 'is highly familiar with vendor contracts and general industry accepted terms and conditions'. As well as standalone mandates, Milner also regularly provides TMT input on the firm's venture capital and private equity mandates in the sector, including on high-profile mandates for Softbank and Alibaba

Practice head(s):

Gordon Milner

Other key lawyers:

Chuan Sun; Thomas Chou; Marcia Ellis; Amit Kataria; Gigi Yuen; Tyler Xiu

Testimonials

‘Gordon Milner has extensive experience working with technology companies and has a strong practice in technology contracts.’

Key clients

SoftBank

SoftBank Vision Fund

Alibaba Group

The Dairy Farm Group

Verizon

Oracle

Airbnb

Tencent

Axiata

Capital markets (equity) Tier 3

Morrison & Foerster, which has been active in the Hong Kong market for more than two decades, works closely with Chinese investment banks and companies on the full range of equity capital markets transactions and post-listing matters. The firm has a particularly strong capability in the life sciences sector; team head Venantius Tan, who has US and Hong Kong securities law expertise, has a wealth of experience of pharmaceutical and biotech IPOs. The practice was bolstered by the arrival of Ke Huang from O'Melveny in May 2019. Counsel Yu Wang left the firm for King & Wood Mallesons, of counsel Samuel Ng moved to Paul Hastings LLP and Xiaohu Ma retired.

Practice head(s):

Venantius Tan

Other key lawyers:

Ke Huang; Vivian Yiu 

Testimonials

‘Good market knowledge and very responsive’. 

Key clients

BOCI Asia Limited

Guotai Junan Securities (Hong Kong) Limited

CLSA Capital Markets Limited

CLSA Limited

Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd.

Ping An Overseas Holdings

Oriental University City Holdings (H.K.) Ltd.

NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited

Dynagreen Environmental Protection Group Co., Ltd.

Inspur International Ltd.

Science City (Guangzhou) Investment Group Co., Ltd.

Corporate (including M&A) Tier 3

Morrison & Foerster features prominently in headline transactions in the Hong Kong and China M&A market, particularly those connected with the technology, financial services and real estate sectors. Its enviable client roster includes financial sponsors (and their portfolio companies), Chinese SOEs and privately-owned enterprises, and multinational corporates. Thomas Chou co-heads the private equity practice in Asia with Marcia Ellis.  Vivian Yiu has over 20 years of experience advising on M&A, joint ventures and reorganisations, among other matters. The Hong Kong team works closely with practitioners in other offices, including Beijing-based partners Sherry Yin and Paul McKenzie.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Chou; Marcia Ellis; Vivian Yiu

Key clients

Softbank/ Softbank Vision Fund

Alibaba Group

GLP

Ascendent

Ally Bridge

BlackRock

NewQuest Capital Partners

Vectr Ventures

Intudo Ventures

Farallon Capital Asia

Bain Capital Credit

Ark Pacific Capital

Celadon Partners

Private equity Tier 3

Leveraging the firm's overarching sector strengths across TMT and life sciences and also benefiting from a 'well-connected' bridgehead between mainland China and the firm's office in Silicon Valley, Morrison & Foerster  provides a 'very impressive service' to a range of global and regional investors, including private equity funds, Chinese insurance businesses and sovereign wealth funds on their venture capital and private equity investments/exits. The 'very commercialMarcia Ellis has vast experience in the region and as well as advising pure sponsor clients, also has very strong connections with major regional conglomerates, including Alibaba and Softbank, which generates a significant deal flow.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Chou and Marcia Ellis

Other key lawyers:

Amit Kataria; Vivian Yiu; Catherine Liu; Brian Snyder; Sunandini Das; Ching Sing So; Olivia Tang; Sarah Luo

Testimonials

‘The team has a lot of experience and is good at problem-solving in a commercial manner.’

‘Thomas Chou is helpful, connected, thoughtful, hardworking and professional.’

Key clients

Softbank/ Softbank Vision Fund

Alibaba Group

GLP

Ascendent

Ally Bridge

BlackRock

NewQuest Capital Partners

Vectr Ventures

Intudo Ventures

Farallon Capital Asia

Bain Capital Credit

Ark Pacific Capital

Celadon Partners

Intellectual property Tier 5

Headed from Hong Kong by Gordon Milner and also aided by a significant presence in mainland China, Morrison & Foerster has a focus on helping regional and international technology and life sciences companies successfully commercialise their intellectual property rights, including providing advice on licensing arrangements and technology transfers. The team also often handles the IP due diligence associated with transactions undertaken by the firm in the TMT sector.

Practice head(s):

Gordon Milner

Other key lawyers:

Gigi Yuen; Tyler Xiu

Key clients

Everest Medicines Limited/Everest Medicines II Limited

Triastek, Inc

Henlius

The Dairy Farm Group

China > Private equity: foreign firms Tier 1

Morrison & Foerster continues to expand its team in China through the hire of counsel Brian Snyder from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and the promotion to counsel of Catherine Liu in the Hong Kong office. Thomas Chou and Marcia Ellis jointly lead the private equity offering with the support of Amit KatariaVivian Yiu and Sherry Yin who sits in Beijing. In recent highlights, the group advised on several high-profile matters in the fintech and technology space, as shown by its work for Alibaba Group in relation to Ant Financial’s most recent $14bn Series C fundraising.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Chou; Marcia Ellis

Testimonials

‘The private equity and venture capital group at Morrison & Foerster possesses good knowledge in the industry. In fact, the industry is very unique and not a lot of firms in the market have appropriate expertise’.

‘The team has a lot of experience and is good at problem solving in a commercial manner’.

‘Thomas Chou is excellent in understanding the industry and leads the team in working on the same. He is very responsive and works 24 hours responding to the clients’.

Key clients

Softbank/ Softbank Vision Fund

Alibaba Group

GLP

Ascendent

Ally Bridge

BlackRock

NewQuest Capital Partners

Vectr Ventures

Intudo Ventures

Farallon Capital Asia

Bain Capital Credit

Ark Pacific Capital

Celadon Partners

China > TMT: foreign firms Tier 1

The dedicated offering at Morrison & Foerster advises on the development, establishment and roll‑out of proprietary technologies and platforms both for regional players and for global players. Combined with the firm's well-known private equity and venture capital expertise, the practice has the capabilities to act for leading investors and start-ups with regards to various regulatory issues. Hong Kong-based Gordon Milner heads the firm's Asia technology practice and is supported in China by Chuan Sun and Paul McKenzie who manages the Beijing and Shanghai offices. Also notable in Hong Kong are Marcia Ellis and Thomas Chou who jointly lead the private equity practice.

Practice head(s):

Gordon Milner

Testimonials

‘Chuan Sun has a wealth of knowledge on his clients’ existing products and services offerings and a good understanding of what terms they are or are not willing to accept. This helps tremendously with contract negotiations.’

‘Chuan Sun has extensive experience in the technology space. Many other competitor firms in the technology space are not really pure IT lawyers, as they are more focus on privacy and trade marks or other related fields, as opposed to technology contracts such as SAP or Microsoft software license agreements. A normal general commercial lawyer would not be able to identify the same issues or raise the right questions, as they are not equipped with the technology know-how of the products and services, their benefits, and general industry standard terms and trending patterns in the market.’

Key clients

SoftBank

SoftBank Vision Fund

Alibaba Group

The Dairy Farm Group

Verizon

Oracle

Airbnb

Tencent

Axiata

China > Investment funds: foreign firms Tier 3

Morrison & Foerster fields a dedicated funds team in China supported closely by the Hong Kong and Singapore offices with a strong expertise in private equity and real estate funds. In recent highlights, the group has significantly expanded its client roster and has handled the formation of GLP's largest ever Japan-focused logistics private real estate fund, among other notable mandates. The team is jointly led by Jason Nelms and Serena Tan, who both split their time between China and Hong Kong, with the former also practising out of Singapore. Other notable names are tax expert Matthew Lau, senior consultant Stephen Birkett who specialises in securities and regulatory matters, and Shirin Tang who is qualified in the US and Singapore.

Practice head(s):

Jason Nelms; Serena Tan

Testimonials

Serena Tan and her team are very professional and also easy to communicate‘.

 

Key clients

Ally Bridge Group

China Great Wall Asset Management Co., Ltd.

E15 VC

Fosun International Group

FWD Group Management Holdings Ltd

GLP PTE, Ltd. (GLP)

GLP China

Hony Capital

IndoSpace

Intudo Ventures

Lamivoie Capital

Sailing Capital

Savills Investment Management

Vectr Ventures Ltd

China > Real estate and construction: foreign firms Tier 3

Morrison & Foerster has a significant track record in advising both domestic and international clients on real estate matters. Hong Kong's Marcia Ellis is an active lawyer in the Asian market and Chuan Sun, who works across the Shanghai and Hong Kong offices, regularly advises multinational corporations, state-owned enterprises, private companies and private equity and venture capital firms on complex, cross-border M&A transactions, joint ventures, strategic alliances and business separation transactions. The practice experienced the departure of real estate partner Maria Wang for Fangda Partners in Shanghai.

Practice head(s):

Marcia Ellis

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

The lawyers have a high level of business experience and are able to better understand the client’s commercial purpose and provide effective and comprehensive services‘.

Marcia Ellis pays great attention to understand the client’s business and transaction purpose. The final solution provided is excellent in combining principle and flexibility. She has a deep understanding of the industry and market practices and can provide a variety of flexible solutions‘.

Key clients

SoftBank

GLP

SoftBank Vision Fund

China > Intellectual property: foreign firms Tier 4

From its offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Palo Alto, Morrison & Foerster advises leading players in the tech and life sciences sectors on the IP aspects of corporate and commercial transactions. It particularly stands out for its experience in patent applications and protection. Ancillary areas of expertise include licensing, data privacy and cybersecurity. Gordon Milner and Chuan Sun are among the key partners in the team.

Practice head(s):

Gordon Milner; Chuan Sun

Other key lawyers:

Janet Xiao; Gigi Yuen; Can Cui; Tyler Xiu; Sarah Wang

Key clients

Everest Medicines Limited/Everest Medicines II Limited

Triastek, Inc.

Henlius

The Dairy Farm Group

China > Regulatory/compliance: foreign firms Tier 4

Morrison & Foerster's China corporate investigations and anti-corruption practice, led by Hong Kong managing partner Timothy Blakely, handles government investigations, regulatory proceedings and internal investigations; the team also assists with pre-acquisition, anti-corruption due diligence and FCPA counselling.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Blakely

The firm: With approximately 1,000 lawyers in 16 offices, Morrison & Foerster is a pre-eminent global law firm dedicated to delivering business-oriented results to clients across the United States, Asia and Europe. Dynamic technology and life science companies, large financial institutions, leading consumer product companies and other market leaders come to Morrison & Foerster for knowledge, innovation and business aptitude. Morrison & Foerster handles some of the world’s largest cross-border transactions and resolves major disputes across multiple jurisdictions. The firm has a long-standing commitment to pro bono work and social justice. MoFo is one of the preeminent law firms in China, providing integrated US and local law advice. The firm has handled major matters in Hong Kong and greater China for over 30 years.

Areas of practice: Morrison & Foerster opened its Hong Kong office in 1983. It was one of the first international firms to have local Hong Kong law capabilities, approved by the Hong Kong Law Society in April 2001. The firm’s lawyers based in Hong Kong have particular expertise in working with multinationals, PRC and Hong Kong companies, foreign and China-based venture capital and private equity investors active in China’s technology industries, and technology-based PRC companies.

Capital markets: MoFo’s leading capital markets practice in China regularly represents issuers and underwriters in debt and equity financings, as well as in domestic venture capital and private equity investments. It is one of the largest and most active capital markets practices of any international law firm in the region, advising clients on a broad range of corporate financing matters involving Hong Kong, US and English law. The firm’s multi-jurisdictional law capabilities and bilingual teams enhance its competitive position, representing clients on both international offerings and cross-border corporate finance matters.

Intellectual property and litigation: MoFo has extensive experience in representing Chinese companies in their IP disputes in the US and in the development of their global IP portfolios.

MoFo has also been advising its global clients who seek to proactively protect their IP from infringement and misappropriation in China and implement enforcement actions in China.

Mergers and acquisitions: MoFo’s China M&A practice combines senior PRC regulatory expertise with international deal execution capability. The firm’s lawyers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong have significant PRC-related, as well as Asia-wide and global cross-border M&A experience.

Private equity and venture capital: combining corporate finance expertise with diverse technology, healthcare, life sciences and real estate practices, lawyers in MoFo’s Hong Kong office are active in all aspects of the evolving private equity and venture capital market in China. The practice regularly represents private equity investors, venture capitalists, private equity fund sponsors and issuers in a wide variety of private equity transactions, including buyouts (leveraged and non-leveraged), early and late-stage venture investments and restructurings and recapitalisations.

Real estate: the China real estate practice team represents investors in the financing, acquisition, joint venture and development of real estate investments across China and internationally. The group has a robust practice representing real estate private equity firms, investment managers, sovereign wealth funds, development companies and REITs that invest in real estate assets and companies in this sector.

Technology transactions: MoFo has assisted leading media and IT companies, global banks and financial institutions, biotech companies and private equity funds in navigating legal, structuring and commercial challenges arising from handling technology projects in China’s rapidly evolving business and regulatory environment.

Dispute resolution: MoFo is one of the world’s premier litigation firms. Its full-service Asia Dispute Resolution practice is a fully integrated regional practice, working seamlessly across its five offices in Asia, to handle all aspects of complex commercial litigation, international arbitration and predispute counselling matters. MoFo also appears in Hong Kong courts and before regulatory bodies in Hong Kong

Department Name Email Telephone
Anti-bribery/anti-corruption/FCPA
Antitrust and competition issues
Capital markets
Corporate governance and internal investigations
Dispute resolution
Energy
Foreign direct investment
Intellectual property and litigation
International arbitration
Life sciences
Mergers and acquisitions
Private equity and venture capital
Real estate
Technology transactions
Number of lawyers : approximately 1,000
at this office : 40+
Cantonese
English
Mandarin
Contacts : Venantius Tan (Hong Kong office managing partner)