Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance have the lead roles on state-owned China Tower Corp. Ltd.’s planned Hong Kong initial public offering, which analysts say could raise $10 billion.
China Tower, the largest telecom tower infrastructure owner in the world, filed an application with the Hong Kong Exchange on Monday, 11 days after smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. applied for a Hong Kong listing that is expected to raise at least $10 billion. The last time Hong Kong saw two IPOs worth $10 billion or more in the same year was in 2010, according to the South China Morning Post, when state-owned Agricultural Bank of China raised $22 billion and insurer AIA Group Ltd. raised $20 billion.
China Tower was established in 2014 as part of a reorganization in the telecommunications sector; in 2015, the three state-owned telecom operators—China Mobile Ltd., China Unicom Ltd., and China Telecom Corp.—sold their tower assets to China Tower for $36.4 billion in a share and cash transaction.
Freshfields Hong Kong partner Teresa Ko and Beijing partner Richard Wang are leading a team advising issuer China Tower. The Magic Circle firm represented China Unicom and China Telecom, two of China Tower’s shareholders, on the 2015 asset injection and reorganization.
King & Wood Mallesons is serving as Chinese counsel to China Tower.
Clifford Chance Hong Kong partners Fang Liu and Amy Lo and Beijing partner Tim Wang are acting for China International Capital Corp. and Goldman Sachs as joint sponsors.
Zhong Lun Law Firm and Commerce & Finance Law Offices are Chinese counsel to the sponsors.
China Tower was created to encourage integration among China’s three top mobile carriers and improve overall reception quality for users.
The deal will be one of the largest Hong Kong IPOs by a Chinese state-owned company in recent years. Mega Chinese state-owned enterprise listings once populated the Hong Kong market but the size and number of such deals have both declined.