Baker & McKenzie and Willkie Farr & Gallagher are representing Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. Ltd. on its proposed $5.7 billion takeover of Birmingham, Ala.-based Protective Life Corp. If approved, the deal would give Dai-ichi its first entry into the U.S. life insurance market. The transaction is expected to close later this year or in early 2015, pending shareholder and regulatory approval in Japan and the United States. The boards of directors of both companies have approved the deal. Baker & McKenzie’s team advising Dai-ichi is being led by Tokyo partner Jiro Toyokama and Chicago partner Craig Roeder. New York partner Alexander Dye is leading the Willkie team on the deal. Debevoise & Plimpton New York partners Jeffrey Rosen and Nicholas Potter are acting for Protective. [Read full story]


Minter Ellison and Johnson Winter & Slattery have the lead roles on Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s $2.2 proposed billion acquisition of Australian natural gas distributor Envestra Ltd. A group of companies controlled by Li, including Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd., Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd. and Power Assets Holdings Ltd., trumped an earlier $1.8 billion offer for the outstanding 83 percent of Envestra’s shares made by Australia’s APA Group. Li, Asia’s richest man with a fortune estimated at $29 billion, already owns the other 17 percent of Adelaide-based Envestra, which operates 23,000 kilometers of gas pipelines in the states of Victoria and South Australia. Minter Ellison Melbourne partners Marcus Best, Bart Oude-Vrielink and Stewart Nankervis are representing Cheung Kong. Johnson Winter & Slattery Sydney partners John Keeves and Tim Bowley are representing Envestra. [Read full story]

Minter Ellison Melbourne partners Jeremy Blackshaw and Bar Oude-Vrielink and Sydney partner Daniel Scotti are representing toilet paper maker Asaleo Care Ltd. on its upcoming $642 million initial public offering. The stock is expected to list June 27. Pacific Equity Partners and Swedish hygiene and paper products maker Svenska Cellulosa SCA AB entered into a 2011 joint venture to develop Asaleo, formerly known as SCA Hygiene, to operate in Australia and New Zealand. PEP is exiting its investment entirely through the IPO, while SCA will sell down its holding to about 33 percent from 50 percent. Minter Ellison Rudd Watts is advising the issuer on New Zealand law. Sullivan & Cromwell special counsel Burr Henly is acting as U.S. counsel to the company. Herbert Smith Freehills is advising joint lead managers Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty. Ltd., Macquarie Capital (Australia) Ltd. and Merrill Lynch Equities (Australia) Ltd. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom Sydney partner Mark Leemen is advising the banks on U.S. law.

Gilbert + Tobin Sydney partners Andrew Crook, Peter Cook and Rachael Bassil are advising hospitality company Mantra Group Ltd. on its upcoming $236 million initial public offering. Mantra, which operates hotels, resorts and serviced apartments in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, is raising the money in order to pay down existing debt. Herbert Smith Freehills Sydney partner Philippa Stone is acting for joint lead managers Macquarie Capital (Australia) Ltd. and UBS AG.

Minter Ellison Sydney partners Riccardo Casali and Daniel Scotti are advising apparel retailer PAS Group Ltd. on a $111 million initial public offering. The stock is expected to trade on the Australian Securities Exchange on June 18. In a prospectus, the company said it would use the money to repay debt. Gilbert + Tobin Sydney partner Rachel Bassil is acting for sole lead manager Morgan Stanley Australia Securities Ltd.

Minter Ellison advised Australian Securities Exchange-listed Xanadu Mines Ltd. on its $14 million acquisition of a majority stake in Oyut Ulaan, a Mongolian subsidiary of Canadian miner Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. Xanadu has purchased a 90 percent share of Oyut Ulaan, which owns 100 percent of a copper and gold project in the South Gobi region of Mongolia. Minter Ellison Ulaanbaatar partner Elisabeth Ellis and Brisbane partners Bruce Cowley and Simon Scott acted for Xanadu. Norton Rose Fulbright Montreal partner Steve Malas represented Turquoise Hill.


Allen & Gledhill is advising a consortium led by Singaporean tycoon Ong Beng Seng and Hong Kong-based property developer Wheelock & Co. on a $1.7 billion buyout of Singapore’s Hotel Properties Ltd. The consortium, called 68 Holdings Pte. Ltd., currently owns slightly more than 50 percent of Hotel Properties and is offering to buy the remaining shares. The deal is expected to close June 26. Allen & Gledhill partners Lim Mei, Hilary Low and Lee Kee Yeng are acting for the consortium on the deal. Another Allen & Gledhill partner, Christopher Ong, is advising Standard Chartered Bank as financial adviser to 68 Holdings. Standard Chartered is also arranging an $815 million term loan facility to finance the offer; Allen & Gledhill partner Lim Wei Ting is advising the consortium on the financing, while Allen & Overy is acting for the bank. Drew & Napier is representing Hotel Properties. [Read full story]

Rajah & Tann Singapore partner Lorena Pang is advising Italian coffee company Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group on its proposed $85 million acquisition of Singapore’s Boncafe Group, a gourmet coffee and coffee machine seller in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. MZB Group bought the entire share capital of Boncafe from the Huber family, which has controlled the company since its launch in 1962. WongPartnership partners Ng Wai King, Kenneth Leong and Jason Chua acted for Boncafe Group.

WongPartnership partners Ng Wai King, Tan Teck Howe and Tan Sue-Lynn have advised a Hong Kong subsidiary of international private school operator Nord Anglia Education Inc. on its $25 million purchase of Dover Court Preparatory School Pte. Ltd. in Singapore. U.K.-based Nord Anglia’s currently operates 28 schools in 12 countries. Tan Rajah & Cheah partner Sayana Baratham acted for Dover Court.

Southeast Asia

Clifford Chance Singapore partners Raymond Tong and Johannes Juette advised 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd. on its $225 million initial public offering on the Bursa Malaysia. The company, already the largest convenience store operator in Malaysia, with over 1,500 stores, plans to use the money raised in order to launch another 600 stores. Zul Rafique & Partners advised the company on Malaysian law matters. Latham & Watkins Singapore partners Michael Sturrock and Sharon Lau acted for underwriters Maybank Investment Bank Bhd., UBS AG, CIMB Investment Bank Bhd., CLSA Singapore Pte. Ltd., Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd., UBS Securities Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. and Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn. Bhd.

China/Hong Kong

Paul Hastings and Allen & Gledhill are advising state-owned China Everbright International Ltd. on a $960 million reverse takeover of Chinese water treatment company HanKore Environment Tech Group Ltd. The Singapore-listed HanKore is purchasing China Everbright’s water assets through the issuance of 1.9 billion of its shares, after which China Everbright will control 78 percent of HanKore. HanKore will then be renamed China Everbright Water Ltd. Paul Hastings Hong Kong partners Vivian Lam and Catherine Tsang are acting for China Everbright. WongPartnership partners Gerry Gan and Teo Hsiao-Huey are representing HanKore.

Clifford Chance Shanghai partner Glen Ma is advising the Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of state-owned Shanghai Electric Group on its proposed $211.4 million acquisition of Dutch automotive fasteners company Koninklijke Nedschroef Holding B.V. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, will expand Nedschroef’s global footprint, while Shanghai Electric gets to add high-end auto fasteners to its stable of machinery products. Dutch firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek is acting for the target.

Email: tbrennan@alm.com.