On September 17, nearly 200 leading legal professionals attended the ninth annual China Law & Practice Awards at the JW Marriott Hotel in Beijing – our first awards since joining the ALM Media network in August.
China Law & Practice, together with The American Lawyer, recognized those involved in the most exciting and creative transactions in the past year, the best firms that excelled in their practice areas and the lawyers that stood above the rest in their respective fields.
In-house participation was at its highest so far, with heads of legal from Tencent, BNP Paribas and State Development and Investment Corporation present to collect their trophies.
We were honored also to present the Outstanding Achievement award to Dr Gao Lulin, founder of Beijing East IP and a pioneer behind the PRC Patent Law, for his contributions to the Chinese IP legal system and a glittering career spanning several decades.
Congratulations to all. Please find the list of finalists and winners below.
Debt & Equity-linked Deal of the Year
Alibaba’s US$8 billion bond offering. (Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Fangda Partners and Maples and Calder advised Alibaba; Sullivan & Cromwell and King & Wood Mallesons advised the underwriters)
Bank of China’s US$6.5 billion AT1 preference shares offering. (Allen & Overy, Linklaters and King & Wood Mallesons advised Bank of China; Clifford Chance and Jingtian & Gongcheng advised the underwriters) CDBL Funding 1’s US$650 million bond offering. (Linklaters, King & Wood Mallesons and Walkers advised CDBL Funding 1; Clifford Chance and Jun He advised the underwriters) Greenland’s US$1 billion bond offering. (Davis Polk & Wardwell and Maples and Calder advised Greenland Global Investment; AllBright Law Offices advised parent company Greenland Holding Group; Linklaters and Commerce & Finance Law Offices advised the underwriters) Winner: ICBC’s triple currency AT1 preference shares offering. This landmark issue totaling US$5.65 billion was the first Asian Basel III-compliant additional tier 1 preference shares offering in three currencies: US$2.94 billion 6.00% dollar-denominated, EUR600 million 6.00% euro-dominated and Rmb12 billion renminbi-denominated. It was the first euro issuance from an Asian bank and the first Asian AT1 offering in 144A/Reg S. The renminbi tranche was also the first offshore renminbi-denominated AT1 and the largest-ever non-sovereign renminbi-denominated securities offering. Linklaters and King & Wood Mallesons advised ICBC; Allen & Overy and Jun He advised the underwriters.
Energy & Natural Resources Deal of the Year
China Guodian’s share transfer to China Power Investment. (Sunshine Law Firm advised China Guodian Corporation) Chinalco Finance’s US$500 million bond offering. (Clifford Chance advised Chinalco Finance Holdings; Guantao Law Firm advised parent company Aluminum Corporation of China; Linklaters advised the underwriters) Fosun’s acquisition of Roc Oil. (Herbert Smith Freehills advised Roc Oil; Norton Rose Fulbright advised Fosun) Glencore Xstrata’s Las Bambas copper project sale. (Baker & McKenzie advised CITIC Metal; Clifford Chance, Carey and Miranda & Amado Abogados advised ICBC, CDB, Bank of China and Ex-Im Bank of China; White & Case, Dentons and Rodrigo Elias & Medrano advised the buyer’s consortium; Guerrero Olivos advised MMG Chile; Sullivan & Cromwell advised Goldman Sachs Australia) Winner: LDK Solar’s global restructuring. LDK Solar’s restructuring of over US$700 million in offshore claims involved the Hong Kong and Cayman Islands Schemes of Arrangement and pre-packaged Chapter 11 and Chapter 15 recognition proceedings. This was the first judicially approved, multi-jurisdictional debt restructuring of its kind for a Chinese enterprise. Sidley Austin and Campbells advised LDK Solar and Zolfo Cooper; Allen & Overy and Walkers advised the majority of supporting preference shareholders; Ropes & Gray and Harney Westwood & Riegels advised the bondholders; Hogan Lovells and Maples and Calder advised Bank of China Private Equity; Mayer Brown JSM advised BNY Mellon.
Equity Deal of the Year
CAR IPO. (Davis Polk & Wardwell, Han Kun Law Offices and Conyers Dill & Pearman advised CAR; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and King & Wood Mallesons advised the underwriters) CGN Power IPO. (Shearman & Sterling and King & Wood Mallesons advised CGN Power; Clifford Chance and Grandall Law Firm advised the underwriters) Dalian Wanda IPO. (Reed Smith Richards Butler, Tian Yuan Law Firm and Appleby advised Dalian Wanda; Freshfields and King & Wood Mallesons advised the underwriters) GF Securities IPO. (Latham & Watkins and Jia Yuan Law Offices advised GF Securities; Clifford Chance and King & Wood Mallesons advised the underwriters) Winner: Alibaba IPO. This NYSE-listing was the largest IPO ever at US$25 billion. Alibaba, the largest e-commerce company in the world, is made up of a complex and interconnected system of tens of millions of buyers, sellers and third-party service providers. The company also employs an innovative corporate governance structure involving a unique management partnership and board of directors election process, all of which made for a groundbreaking transaction. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Fangda Partners and Maples and Calder advised Alibaba; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Conyers Dill & Pearman advised Yahoo!; Harney Westwood & Riegels advised shareholder CDB; Morrison & Foerster advised SoftBank; Sullivan & Cromwell and King & Wood Mallesons advised the underwriters.
M&A Deal of the Year
Shenyin & Wanguo’s US$6.4 billion acquisition of Hong Yuan. (Appleby advised Shenyin & Wanguo Securities; Haiwen & Partners advised CICC) Sinopec Marketing’s 29.9% stake sale. (Haiwen & Partners advised Sinopec; AllBright Law Offices advised China Life and Fosun; AnJie Law Firm advised PICC Property and Casualty; Clifford Chance advised HOPU; Davis Polk & Wardwell advised Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; Fangda Partners advised an investment project fund; Harney Westwood & Riegels advised China Asset Management; Jia Yuan Law Offices advised Cinda Sino-Rock International Energy; King & Wood Mallesons advised CDB Capital; Llinks Law Offices advised Harvest Fund Management; Morrison & Foerster advised Fosun; Sullivan & Cromwell advised ENN Energy China Investment; Tian Yuan Law Firm advised CICC) Whirlpool’s acquisition of 51% stake in Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric. (Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Llinks Law Offices advised Whirlpool) Winner: CSR and China CNR’s US$26 billion merger. This was the first-ever merger of two companies with dual listings in Shanghai and Hong Kong, meaning the first-ever shares swap involving two sets of A-shares and two sets of H-shares. This global merger between the world’s largest rolling stock manufacturers was implemented by way of absorption and share-exchange and required extensive anti-monopoly reviews in all jurisdictions. Baker & McKenzie and Grandall Law Firm advised CSR; Morrison & Foerster and Jingtian & Gongcheng advised China CNR; Linklaters and Haiwen & Partners advised CICC; Kirkland & Ellis advised BAML.
Outbound Deal of the Year
Anbang Insurance’s US$1.95 billion acquisition of Waldorf Astoria. (Greenberg Traurig, Fried Frank and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom advised Anbang Insurance; Dentons and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised Hilton) AVIC Electromechanical Systems’ US$645 million acquisition of Hilite. (Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Noerr advised AVIC Electromechanical Systems; Willkie Farr & Gallager and Zhong Lun Law Firm advised 3i Group) China Mobile’s acquisition of 18% stake in True Corporation. (Clifford Chance advised China Mobile; Linklaters advised True Corporation) Winner: COFCO’s acquisition of Noble Agri and Nidera. State-owned COFCO, China’s largest food and agricultural products company, concurrently conducted two global acquisitions: the US$1.5 billion acquisition of a 51% stake in Noble Agri and the US$1.3 billion acquisition of a 51% stake in Nidera. The transactions required significant negotiations and involved equity co-investments and debt financing, as well as global anti-monopoly filings and regulatory reviews. Clifford Chance, Han Kun Law Offices and Walkers advised COFCO; Linklaters advised Noble Group; NautaDutilh advised Nidera; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Maples and Calder advised HOPU, IFC, Standard Chartered Private Equity and Temasek; Hogan Lovells advised the bank syndicate.
Private Equity Deal of the Year
China Huarong Asset Management’s 20.98% stake sale. (Paul Hastings and King & Wood Mallesons advised China Huarong Asset Management; Clifford Chance advised Khazanah Nasional Berhad; Zhong Lun Law Firm advised China Life) Chindex International privatization. (Hughes Hubbard & Reed advised Chindex; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Fangda Partners advised TPG; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom advised CEO Roberta Lipson; Troutman Sanders advised Fosun) iSoftStone privatization. (O’Melveny & Myers, Han Kun Law Offices and Maples and Calder advised iSoftStone; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Zhong Lun Law Firm and Conyers Dill & Pearman advised the buyer’s consortium; Davis Polk & Wardwell advised CEO Liu Tianwen; Kirkland & Ellis advised the special committee; Clifford Chance, Fangda Partners and Walkers advised the underwriters) Winner: Yongye International privatization. NASDAQ-listed Yongye International, a Chinese agricultural nutrient manufacturer, was taken private for US$360 million. The deal involved a US$214 million acquisition financing from CDB and a US$35 million mezzanine debt financing from Lead Rich International. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Loeb & Loeb and Han Kun Law Offices advised Yongye; Alston & Bird and DeHeng Law Offices advised CEO Wu Zishen; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Conyers Dill & Pearman advised Full Alliance; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld advised Houlihan Lokey; Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison advised Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia Agriculture; Weil Gotshal & Manges advised 3W Partners.
Project Finance Deal of the Year
China Railway Development Fund. (Zhong Lun Law Firm advised the China Railway Development Fund) Shanghai Electric Group’s financing for acquisition of Ansaldo Energia. (Fangda Partners advised Shanghai Electric Group; Herbert Smith Freehills advised the bank syndicate) Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical’s chemical plant project. (DLA Piper advised Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical; Fangda Partners advised DNB Asia) Winner: Beijing Enterprises Water Group’s wastewater project. In line with China’s goal of tackling pollution, Asian Development Bank provided a long-term US$120 million and a seven-year US$288 million loan to Beijing Enterprises Water Group and its subsidiary BEWG Environmental Group for municipal wastewater and reuse projects in China. White & Case advised ADB; Ashurst, King & Wood Mallesons and Appleby advised the bank syndicate.
Real Estate & Construction Deal of the Year
APG’s acquisition of 20% stake in and JV with e-Shang. (Baker & McKenzie advised APG Asset Management; Allen & Overy advised e-Shang; Walkers advised Warburg Pincus and e-Shang)
China Overseas Land’s acquisition of CSCEC’s property portfolio. (Norton Rose Fulbright and Jingtian & Gongcheng advised China Overseas Land & Investment) HYZL and China Everbright Group’s acquisition of Cheung Kong’s Oriental Financial Centre. (King & Wood Mallesons advised HYZL Development)
Winner: China Vanke and Blackstone JV. China’s largest residential developer Vanke and Blackstone formed two BVI joint ventures to invest in logistics properties in China. The deal involved complex structural considerations involving FCPA and tax-related requirements and was the first case to receive clearance from MOFCOM under the new simplified merger filing procedure. Allen & Overy advised Vanke; Ropes & Gray, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Zhong Lun Law Firm advised Blackstone.
TMT Deal of the Year
58.com’s acquisition of 43% stake in Ganji.com. (Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Han Kun Law Offices advsed 58.com; Kirkland & Ellis advised Ganji.com; Weil Gotshal & Manges advised a selling shareholder) Alibaba’s US$590 million acquisition of Meizu Technology. (Freshfields Bruckhaus & Deringer, Fangda Partners and Maples and Calder advised Alibaba; Sidley Austin and Conyers Dill & Pearman advised Meizu) Baofeng Technology IPO. (Global Law Office and Jingtian & Gongcheng advised Baofeng)
Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache merger. (Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Fangda Partners and Maples and Calder advised Beijing Xiaoju Keji/Didi Dache; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Han Kun Law Offices and Walkers advised Travice/Kuaidi Dache) Winner: Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s x86 server business This US$2.1 billion transaction was one of the largest technology deals in China’s history. It involved a complex carve-out from a larger IBM business and significant cross-border stock exchange, IP and technology issues, as well as global antitrust merger filings. The deal also came under heavy scrutiny by US regulators over the potential national security implications of a Chinese company buying a US server business. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Covington & Burling advised Lenovo; Cravath Swaine & Moore, Hogan Lovells and Jin Mao Partners advised IBM.
Banking & Finance: Jun He and Allen & Overy Capital Markets: King & Wood Mallesons and Clifford Chance
M&A: Haiwen & Partners and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
Private Equity: Fangda Partners and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Projects, Energy & Infrastructure: Guantao Law Firm and Vinson & Elkins
PRC Dealmaker: Jonathan Zhou (Fangda Partners)
International Dealmaker: He Li (Davis Polk & Wardwell)
Competition: King & Wood Mallesons and Linklaters
Dispute Resolution: Fangda Partners and Herbert Smith Freehills
Insurance: AnJie Law Firm and DLA Piper
Intellectual Property: King & Wood Mallesons and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
Labour & Employment: King & Wood Mallesons and Baker & McKenzie
Life Sciences: Global Law Office and Covington & Burling
Real Estate & Construction: Zhong Lun Law Firm and Allen & Overy
Regulatory & Compliance: Fangda Partners and Simmons & Simmons
Shipping & Maritime: Wang Jing & Co and Mayer Brown JSM
Tax: Jun He and Baker & McKenzie
TMT: Han Kun Law Offices and Hogan Lovells
Trade: Jincheng Tongda & Neal and Sidley Austin
Offshore: Maples and Calder
Up-and-Coming: DaHui Lawyers
Hong Kong: Deacons
Japan: Nishimura & Asahi
Korea: Kim & Chang
Taiwan: Lee and Li
Regional Firm – East China: Zhejiang T&C Law Firm
Regional Firm – North China: Winners Law Firm
Regional Firm – South China: Guangda Law Firm
Regional Firm – West & Central China: Solton & Partners
PRC Company: Tencent
International Company: Varian Medical Systems
PRC Financial Institution: State Development and Investment Corporation
International Investment Bank: BNP Paribas
Competition: Feng Yao (Broad & Bright)
Dispute Resolution – Arbitration: Cao Lijun (Zhong Lun Law Firm)
Dispute Resolution – Litigation: Zhang Shouzhi (King & Wood Mallesons)
Intellectual Property: Benjamin Bai (Allen & Overy)
Labour & Employment: Lesli Ligorner (Simmons & Simmons)
Real Estate & Construction: Zhu Maoyuan (Zhong Lun Law Firm)
Regulatory & Compliance: Susan Munro (Steptoe & Johnson)
Tax: Peter Ni (Zhong Lun Law Firm)
Rising Star: Competition: Vivian Cao (Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer)
Rising Star: Dispute Resolution – Arbitration: Shaun Wu (Kobre & Kim)
Rising Star: Dispute Resolution – Litigation: Peng Ya (King & Wood Mallesons)
Rising Star: Intellectual Property: Qi Fang (Fangda Partners)
Rising Star: Labour & Employment: Lu Zheng (Baker & McKenzie)
Rising Star: Real Estate & Construction: Ding Jianqing (Zhong Lun Law Firm)
Rising Star: Regulatory & Compliance: Xu Hui (Covington & Burling)
Rising Star: Tax: Daisy Duan (King & Wood Mallesons)
Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison
Apart from being at the forefront of TMT and private equity in China, Paul Weiss is also the dominant firm for interactive entertainment and amusement parks – unique and niche areas in which investment is flowing into the country. The firm worked on Disneyland Shanghai in 2012 and advised DreamWorks Animation this year on a real-estate and entertainment project called Shanghai DreamCenter. It was more recently approached by Universal to build a Beijing theme park and resort.
A leading name in private equity, IP, disputes and regulatory matters, the firm has also shown its capability in complex capital markets and financing transactions. Alibaba’s go-to PRC firm, Fangda Partners’ client base shows that the firm has the technical and commercial skills required to act for companies in the country’s most modern and cutting-edge industries. This is a firm that is riding the “New China” wave.
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy’s International Firm of the Year win goes far beyond its traditionally deep bench in financing transactions and connections with banks – the firm set world records this year with two grand preference share offerings by Bank of China and ICBC. It is a corporate powerhouse in China, having acted on the most significant antitrust investigations and merger filings to complex cross-border IP disputes and real estate deals.
China Law & Practice was proud to present the 2015 lifetime award to Dr Gao Lulin, the founder and chairman of Beijing East IP and one of the creators of China’s modern IP framework. Dr Gao has been praised by the legal community as the architect of China’s patent law and system and a pioneer and standard bearer in the field of Chinese patent law.
He has played leading roles at the China Patent Office, headed up WIPO and Paris Convention conferences and received medals and honors across Europe. He was the first commissioner of the State IP Office (SIPO) and helped construct the patent database that is in use today. Dr Gao serves as the honorary president of the All-China Patent Agents Association and the vice chairman of the Internet Society of China.
A special thank you to everyone who participated in the research process, spoke with the team and attended the ceremony. Congratulations to all finalists and winners, and see you all next year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the China Law & Practice Awards.
By Katherine Jo