Davis Polk & Wardwell has made a rare partner addition in Tokyo, hiring mergers and acquisitions partner Kenneth Lebrun from Shearman & Sterling.

Lebrun’s practice focuses on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and private equity transactions. He advised Japanese insurance firm SOMPO Holdings Inc. on its $6.3 billion acquisition of New York Stock Exchange-listed insurer Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd., which was completed in March last year.

Lebrun, who speaks fluent Japanese, joined Shearman in 2000 after stints at White & Case and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. He made partner at Shearman in 2007 and was appointed head of the Asia M&A practice in 2017.

Lebrun joins capital markets partner Jon Gray in Davis Polk’s Tokyo office. The firm now has “premier capabilities in both capital markets and M&A in Tokyo,” according to firm managing partner Thomas Reid.

New York-based Davis Polk first opened in Tokyo in 1987. Gray, who now leads the office, joined the firm from Linklaters in 2015, succeeding former office head Theodore Paradise, who retired from the partnership. To facilitate that leadership transition, the firm also briefly moved then capital markets partner Eugene Gregor to Tokyo from Hong Kong. Gregor has since moved to the firm’s Menlo Park office and now serves as senior counsel.

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