Baker & McKenzie, King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) and Clifford Chance (CC) were among the big winners at the China Law & Practice Awards 2016, which this year celebrated their 10th anniversary at a packed event in Beijing.
The event, hosted yesterday (21 September) at the Park Hyatt Beijing by Legal Week sister title China Law & Practice, was attended by nearly 200 legal professionals, with the winners selected from almost 1,000 nominations, the highest on record.
Winners of the most prestigious prizes included Zhong Lun Law Firm and Baker & McKenzie, which took home the China Firm of the Year and International Firm of the Year awards respectively, and Han Kun Law Offices, which was named Most Innovative Firm of the Year for its work in cutting-edge technology, media, telecoms and venture capital deals.
To mark the 10th anniversary, a special award was handed to KWM as Firm of the Decade, in recognition of its growth and international success achieved in parallel with China’s rise to the top of the global stage during the past 10 years.
UK firms recognised at the event included CC, which took two international awards for projects and infrastructure, and capital markets; Allen & Overy, for its aviation work; Eversheds, which took the International Employment Firm honour; and Linklaters, which was named International Competition Firm of the Year.
The Lifetime Achievement award went to Professor Jiang Ping, the former president of China University of Political Science and Law, for his achievements in legal reform and advocacy of the rule of law.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS
Debt and Equity-linked Deal of the Year: Greentown China’s consent, exchange and new bond offering Davis Polk & Wardwell Jingtian & Gongcheng Maples and Calder T&C Law Firm White & Case This three-in-one deal combined consent from Greentown’s renminbi and USD bondholders, a concurrent offer to exchange the USD notes and a new money issuance of $500m. The triple transaction was executed within a single timetable and was the first of its kind on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Energy & Natural Resources Deal of the Year: Hai Duong BOT power plant Guantao Law Firm King & Wood Mallesons VILAF Watson Farley & Williams In its largest investment overseas to date, China Power Engineering Consulting Group signed an agreement with Malaysia’s JAKS Resources Berhad to construct a thermal power plant in Hai Duong using the build-operate-transfer model. The plant marked China’s biggest single investment in Vietnam and is one of the key projects of the Belt and Road initiative.
Equity Deal of the Year: Focus Media $7bn backdoor listing Fangda Partners Jingtian & Gongcheng Focus Media Holding’s Rmb45.7bn backdoor listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange through Hedy Holding, which followed its 2013 delisting from the US, represented the first relisting of a NASDAQ-listed company on the A-share market. This reverse merger is at the forefront of a significant privatisation trend involving the US and Chinese markets.
Finance Deal of the Year: Bank of Dalian $2.3bn restructuring financing Guantao Law Firm Haiwen & Partners Bank of Dalian, which was classified as high risk in 2014, brought on board China Orient Asset Management as a strategic investor to acquire its assets. The deal required substantial M&A, finance, restructuring and tax work in light of the necessary due diligence, complicated batching and disposal of risky assets, heavy negotiation and calculation of losses before enterprise income tax payments.
M&A Deal of the Year: HP and Tsinghua’s $4.5bn partnership Allen & Overy AnJie Law Firm Fangda Partners Jingtian & Gongcheng Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom Zhong Lun Law Firm Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) strategic partnership with Chinese Tsinghua University involved the latter’s subsidiary Unisplendour purchasing a 51% stake in a new business comprising H3C Technologies and HP’s China-based server, storage and technology services. This represented a rare instance of a US tech giant opening a core business to a Chinese partner amid global cybersecurity concerns.
Real Estate and Construction Deal of the Year: Shanghai Disney Resort Baker & McKenzie Guantao Law Firm Jin Mao Partners Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison Zhong Lun Law Firm The opening of the Shanghai Disney Park & Resort in June 2016 was the result of more than 10 years’ planning and structuring. Disney’s joint venture with Shanghai Shendi Group for this project was a milestone for foreign cultural import, as well as the consumer market in China. It was the first theme park project of international standard and required complex legal considerations in real estate, construction, M&A, IP and employment.
TMT Deal of the Year: WuXi Pharma $3.3bn privatisation Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton Conyers Dill & Pearman Fangda Partners O’Melveny & Myers Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom Sullivan & Cromwell Walkers Weil Gotshal & Manges Willkie Farr & Gallagher Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Zhong Lun Law Firm Innovative debt and equity structuring tools were employed in this take-private to facilitate a later A-share relisting. This was one of the largest completed privatisations of a US-listed Chinese company and among the most significant, particularly against the backdrop of the highly regulated biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.
Outbound Deal of the Year: ChemChina’s $7.8bn acquisition of Pirelli Covington & Burling Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer King & Wood Mallesons JunHe Pedersoli This 100% acquisition of Italian tire company Pirelli involved Italian, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and PRC laws, the structuring of multiple transactions, syndicated loans, multi-jurisdictional anti-monopoly reviews and the creation of holding companies in Hong Kong and Europe to obtain preferential tax treatment.
China Dealmaker of the Year: Yu Yongqiang (JunHe) International Dealmaker of the Year: Jeanette Chan (Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison)
Aviation Firms of the Year China: King & Wood Mallesons International: Allen & Overy
Banking & Finance Firms of the Year China: JunHe International: Kirkland & Ellis
Capital Markets Firms of the Year China: Jingtian & Gongcheng International: Clifford Chance
Competition Firms of the Year China: JunHe International: Linklaters
Dispute Resolution Firms of the Year China: Zhong Lun Law Firm International: Herbert Smith Freehills
Energy Firms of the Year China: King & Wood Mallesons International: Herbert Smith Freehills
Healthcare & Life Sciences Firms of the Year China: Global Law Office International: Baker & McKenzie
Insurance Firms of the Year China: Jincheng, Tongda & Neal International: Mayer Brown JSM
Intellectual Property Firms of the Year China: Fangda Partners International: Hogan Lovells
Employment Firms of the Year China: River Delta Law Firm International: Eversheds
M&A Firms of the Year China: Fangda Partners International: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Private Equity & Venture Capital Firms of the Year China: Han Kun Law Offices International: Kirkland & Ellis
Projects & Infrastructure Firms of the Year China: Zhong Lun Law Firm International: Clifford Chance
Real Estate Firms of the Year China: King & Wood Mallesons International: Sidley Austin
Regulatory & Compliance Firms of the Year China: Zhong Lun Law Firm International: Covington & Burling
Shipping & Maritime Firms of the Year China: King & Wood Mallesons International: Watson Farley & Williams
Tax Firms of the Year China: Zhong Lun Law Firm International: Baker & McKenzie
TMT Firms of the Year China: TransAsia Lawyers International: Paul Weiss Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
Trade Firms of the Year China: King & Wood Mallesons International: Steptoe & Johnson
Up-and-coming Firm of the Year: Jin Mao Partners
Offshore Firm of the Year: Conyers Dill & Pearman Hong Kong Firm of the Year: Deacons Macau Firm of the Year: Rato Ling Lei & Cortes Advogados Taiwan Firm of the Year: Lee and Li Japan Firm of the Year: Nishimura & Asahi Korea Firm of the Year: Kim & Chang Australia Firm of the Year: Minter Ellison Southeast Asia Firm of the Year: WongPartnership
Regional China Firms of the Year East China: Llinks Law Offices North China: Deheng Law Group South China: Guanghe Law Firm West and Central China: Solton & Partners
Pro Bono Initiative of the Year: Hogan Lovells, JunHe, Zhong Lun Law Firm
Lawyers of the Year Competition: Susan Ning (King & Wood Mallesons) Arbitration: Xing Xiusong (Global Law Office) Litigation: Xi Zhou (JunHe) Intellectual Property: Simon Tsi (Chang Tsi & Partners) Employment: Jiang Junlu (King & Wood Mallesons) Private Client: Han (Antonio) Chen (Han Kun Law Offices) Real Estate and Construction: Wang Jihong (Zhong Lun Law Firm) Regulatory and Compliance: Eric Carlson (Covington & Burling) Tax: Tony Dong (King & Wood Mallesons) Rising Star: Zheng Lu (Baker & McKenzie)
In-house Teams of the Year Chinese Company: Tencent Chinese Financial Institution: Anbang Insurance International Company: 3M International Investment Bank: BNP Paribas
Most Innovative Firm of the Year: Han Kun Law Offices China Firm of the Year: Zhong Lun Law Firm International Firm of the Year: Baker & McKenzie Firm of the Decade: King & Wood Mallesons
China Law & Practice Outstanding Achievement Award: Professor Jiang Ping