Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Latham & Watkins are in the driver’s seat for Chinese electric vehicle startup NIO Inc.’s upcoming initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, a flotation that the issuer hopes will raise $1.8 billion.
The looming listing by NIO comes as Palo Alto, California-based rival Tesla Inc. grapples with a potential privatization plan put forth by its CEO Elon Musk, a separate move that has yielded roles for at least five Am Law 100 firms.
Shanghai-based NIO is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Chinese private equity firm Hillhouse Capital Group. The four-year-old company plans to use $650 million in the proceeds from its IPO to improve its factory in Shanghai and invest in research, development, sales and marketing related to self-driving technology, according to securities filings. Legal fees related to the IPO are not yet known.
The IPO will be the second-largest U.S. listing by a Chinese company in 2018 after Beijing-based video streaming site iQiyi Inc. raised $2.25 billion in March. That listing yielded nearly $2.2 million in legal fees and expenses for the issuer’s lawyers from Skadden, China’s Jingtian & Gongcheng and offshore firm Walkers, according to securities filings.
Skadden corporate partners Julie Gao and Will Cai in Hong Kong, both of whom advised iQiyi on its IPO, have also taken the lead for NIO on its U.S. listing. Gao has also acted for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. on its roughly $5 billion IPO in Hong Kong and Shanghai-based group discounter Pinduoduo Inc. on its $1.6 billion debut on the Nasdaq, a listing that securities filings show generated $1.93 million in legal fees and expenses.
Beijing-based Han Kun Law Offices is serving as Chinese counsel to NIO on its IPO, with offshore firm Maples and Calder advising on Cayman Islands law.
Latham Hong Kong partner Allen Wang is leading a team representing underwriters on the listing led by Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Case & Co. *Washington, D.C. partner Alexander Cohen is advising on Securities and Exchange Commission matters and New York partner Dana Fleischman is advising on U.S. broker-dealer issues.
Grandall Law Firm in Shanghai is advising the banks on Chinese law.
China, the world’s largest automobile market, has been promoting electric vehicles since 2009 as the country tries to curb pollution and reduce dependence on imported oil, as well as create a high-tech industry that will produce jobs and exports.
*Updated 8/16: This story has been updated with Latham partner Dana Fleischman’s role on the deal.