Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Baker & McKenzie have the lead roles on Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co.’s proposed $715 million purchase of a stake in Thai Life Insurance Pcl.
Meiji Yasuda, one of Japan’s largest life insurers, said in a statement that it is buying 15 percent of Thai Life in order to capture the demand for insurance from Thailand’s growing middle class. While the two companies did not disclose details of the transaction, media reports citing people familiar with the deal put its value at 70 billion yen, or $714.8 million.
The move into Southeast Asia by Meiji Yasuda is part of a larger trend by Japanese companies seeking growth outside their saturated home market, especially in Southeast Asia. Earlier this month, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. announced it would pay $5.75 billion for a majority stake in Bank of Ayudhya Plc., Thailand's fifth-largest bank. In May, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. bought a 40 percent share of Indonesia’s PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional Tbk for $1.5 billion.
Freshfields Tokyo partners Junzaburo Kiuchi and Ed Cole are acting for Meiji Yasuda. Richmond, Va.-based Hunton & Williams’ team in Bangkok is advising the Japanese insurer on Thai law.
Baker & McKenzie is representing Thai Life, with the firm’s team being led by Bangkok partners Sorachon Boonsong and Preeda Meksrisuwan.