News in brief (September-October 2021)

news brief

Chubb acquires Cigna arms

Global insurance carrier Chubb has agreed to acquire Cigna’s life, accident and supplemental benefits businesses in South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Turkey for USD5.75 billion. Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Sullivan & Cromwell assisted Chubb, while Baker McKenzie advised Cigna. In South Korea, Chubb will acquire and continue to operate the business under the Lina Life brand. The Sullivan & Cromwell team com-prised Hong Kong-based partners Andrew Gerlach, Rodge Cohen, Yoo Joonkeun and New York-based associate Olivia Xie. Baker McKenzie’s team in Washington was led by transactional chair Pamela Daya-nim and corporate and securities partner Daniel De Deo.

TDCX goes public in NY

Singapore headquartered digital customer service provider for technology and blue-chip companies, TDCX, has gone public on the NYSE, making it the second US IPO by a Singapore-headquartered company since tech conglomerate Sea listed in 2017. Skadden advised TDCX and Latham & Watkins represented the joint bookrunners, Goldman Sachs & Co and Credit Suisse Securities, in the transaction. TDCX offered 19,358,957 American depositary shares at USD18 each for a total offer value of USD349 million, exclusive of the underwriters’ over-allotment option.

Shearman in Osaka Gas JV

Shearman & Sterling advised Japan’s Osaka Gas and its US subsidiary, Osaka Gas USA, in establishing a joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group through its US subsidiary, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America (MHIA), to acquire the Brighter Future Solar Farm project in North Carolina from project developer Oriden, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Power Americas. The project is expected to commence operation by the end of this year. The Shearman & Sterling team was led by capital markets partner Karl Pires in Tokyo and included associate Rena Katsuyama in New York, and Tokyo-based associates Yuki Shirato, Masashi Shimojo and Takako Shigetomi.

Nishimura links Honda, Google

Nishimura & Asahi advised Honda Motor on its agreement with Google to integrate an in-vehicle connected service in a new car model that will come to market in the second half of 2022 in North America. The Nishimura & Asahi team in Tokyo was led by partners Yuki Oi and Satoshi Niki, and counsel Masatsugu Sakamoto.

Tencent buys search engine

Tencent has completed the takeover of Chinese search engine operator Sogou in a USD3.5 billion deal on 23 September. After the transaction, Sogou delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Tencent. The deal was effected through a statutory short-form merger after Tencent’s purchase of all Sogou shares from Chinese online media platform Davis Polk & Wardwell, Haiwen & Partners and Walkers (Hong Kong) were US, PRC and Cayman Islands counsel for Tencent, respectively. Zhong Lun Law Firm acted as Sogou’s PRC counsel, while Conyers Dill & Pearman provided Cayman law advice to Sogou. Goulston & Storrs and Han Kun Law Offices advised on US and PRC law, respectively.

Withers adds dispute expert

Withers has hired commercial litigator Michael Chik, as a partner in its Hong Kong litigation and international arbitration practice. Chik joined from Bird & Bird where he was a partner for two years in its Hong Kong office. Chik represents institutional clients such as banks, asset managers, financial institutions and listed companies in all aspects of commercial disputes. He also advises corporate clients on regulatory matters including compliance issues.

Telcos align in Indonesia

Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison and Qatari telecom multinational Ooredoo have agreed to merge their Indonesian telecom units in a USD6 billion deal, the second-largest M&A deal in the country’s history after USD18 billion Gojek-Tokopedia merger announced in May. White & Case advised Ooreedoo and Freshfields advised CK Hutchison. Indosat Ooredoo, an Indonesian subsidiary of Ooredoo, will merge with Hutchison 3 Indonesia, an Indonesian subsidiary of Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison, to be named Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison.

Mishcon opens HK office

After opening up its first international office in Singapore last year, British firm Mishcon de Reya opened its second overseas office in association with Hong Kong boutique firm, Karas. The office will be led by managing partner and a dispute resolution specialist Jason Karas. The Hong Kong office will focus on disputes and investigations, particularly those arising from corporate collapses, audit and other professional negligence, shareholder disputes and commercial fraud. It will also build a private wealth practice leveraging expertise from Mishcon de Reya’s private offering.

Miura opens Nagoya office

Japanese law firm Miura & Partners opened a new office in Nagoya on 1 September to support its legal services in Tokai Economic Zone, a heavy manufacturing area and one of the most industrial regions in the country. Partners Shunichi Kamiya, Keiko Komatsu, Yoshie Sakono and Tomoyuki Matsui will run the new office. The firm has been providing M&A, dispute resolution and other legal consultations to clients in the area.

Weil adds R&I lawyer in HK

Weil, Gotshal & Manges has hired Kathleen Aka as a partner in its restructuring practice in Hong Kong. She joined from Ropes & Gray in Hong Kong where she started seven years ago as an associate and became a partner in 2018. Aka has experience advising debtors and creditors in relation to contentious and non-contentious restructuring and insolvency matters in the Asia-Pacific.

Shipbuilder goes public

Paul Hastings advised shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries on its USD923 million global offering and listing on the Korea Exchange. Credit Suisse, Korea Investment and Securities and Mirae Asset Securities acted as the joint global co-ordinators and bookrunners. Bae Kim & Lee advised the underwriters. The Paul Hastings team in Seoul was led by corporate partner Kim Iksoo, with support from associate Kim Sye Myung and corporate attorney David Park. Bae Kim & Lee’s team in Seoul consisted of partners Shin Hee-Gang, Roh Mieun and Ha Youngjin, associates Hwang Jungwon and Kim Eunjin and senior foreign attorney Chung Sookyung.

HFW hires litigator

Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) has hired arbitrator and litigator Karen Cheung as a partner in its dispute resolution practice in Hong Kong. She joined from Hong Kong firm Li & Partners, where she was a partner. Cheung advises state-owned, multinational clients and ultra-high net worth individuals and families. She has handled more than 50 international arbitrations under the HKIAC, LMAA and ICC rules, as well as arbitration-related court proceedings.

New partner for Harneys

Harneys has appointed Calamus Huang as a partner in Shanghai, joining from onshore firm Sidley Austin, where she spent 10 years in the firm’s China corporate practice based in Shanghai. Huang is a strategic investment and M&A lawyer with clients including private equity and venture capital investors, listed and private companies, strategic investors and multinationals. She advises on cross-border and multi-jurisdictional corporate matters.

Ex-US diplomat rejoins Sullivan

Michael George DeSombre rejoined Sullivan & Cromwell as a partner in Hong Kong office after serving a short spell as US ambassador to Thailand since March 2020. Previously, DeSombre was a partner at the Hong Kong office of the white-shoe firm since 1995. DeSombre resumes his responsibilities as a partner and head of the Asia M&A and private equity practices and the Korea team. He focuses on public and private M&A transactions, leveraged buyouts, joint ventures and direct investments across Asia.

Caroussell gets fresh funds

Cooley advised Singapore-based second-hand marketplace Carousell in securing a USD100 million investment led by STIC Investments, a Korean private equity firm. The fresh funds brought Carousell’s valuation to USD1.1 billion. The team was led by partners Matthew Bartus in Singapore and Patrick Loofbourrow in Shanghai.

Arbitrator joins HK chambers

Temple Chambers in Hong Kong has hired barrister Ng Jern-fei as an arbitrator member. Ng, who is based in London, will also continue to maintain his counsel practice from London, dividing his time between jurisdictions. Ng is a member of the HKIAC’s proceedings committee, the board of directors of Maxwell Chambers in Singapore, and the Singapore Academy of Law’s professional affairs committee.

Walkers hires R&I specialist

Walkers has hired cross-border insolvency and restructuring specialist Tom Pugh as a partner to its Hong Kong office. Pugh joined from Mayer Brown, where he was a part-ner for more than seven years. He brings 14 years of experience working on a variety of large-scale cross-border liquidations and restructurings.

The Singapore office of ZICO Law, ZICO Insights Law, has hired partner Liu Hern Kuan to head its newly established tax practice from 1 September. He joined from Singapore-an firm Tan Peng Chin, where he was the head of tax for more than four years. Previously, he was the head of tax practice at Rajah & Tann in Singapore for three years. Liu has experience in the public and private sectors, and was a tax manager in two of the big four accounting firms before joining the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, where he served as chief legal officer for more than a decade.

CP Pokphand goes private

Ashurst advised Japanese general trading company Itochu as a share-holder on the HKD7 billion (USD898 million) privatisation of Hong Kong-listed investment holding company CP Pokphand (CPP) by its Thailand-based parent company, Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), through a scheme of arrangement. CPF holds 49.74% and Itochu has 25% of CPP. The remainder is owned by private individuals and traded publicly. After the transaction, CPF will increase its ownership to 75%, with the remaining 25% held by Itochu. The Ashurst team in Hong Kong was led by partner Chin Yeoh and assisted by senior associates Roger Dong and Lloyd Meng.