In 2013, several publications that cover the Asia Pacific region’s legal and financial industries recognized Sidley’s involvement in a number of exceptional transactions. “Such success stems not only from the talented team of lawyers who are based in Sidley’s six regional offices,” said Thomas Albrecht, managing partner for Sidley, Asia Pacific, “but also from the firm’s collaborative culture evidenced by the fact that some of our highest profile and most complicated 2013 matters involved our lawyers from around the globe.”
Winning teams for best high-yield and Philippines deals
The awards include accolades from FinanceAsia, which recognized two of Sidley’s deals as among the region’s most significant transactions in its 2013 Achievement Awards. The Best High-Yield deal award went to Country Garden, one of China’s leading property developers, in its US$750 million high-yield offering. Sidley’s team was led by Matthew Sheridan, working from the firm’s Singapore and Hong Kong offices, and Carrie Li, who is based out of our Hong Kong office.
FinanceAsia awarded the Best Philippines deal to those who advised UBS as the sole global coordinator on a US$920 million follow-on offering by LT Group, a Philippine-listed conglomerate. Sidley was among the recipients for work accomplished by Alex Lloyd and Dorothy Dizon, both from the firm’s Hong Kong office. The transaction was the country’s largest ever equity sale and the second largest equity offering of any type in the Philippines at the time.
Talent in high-yield bonds and investment-grade bonds
IFR Asia’s annual Review of the Year Awards also recognized Country Garden’s aforementioned high-yield offering, which earned the publication’s High-Yield Bond award. According to IFR Asia, the deal “paved the way for other Chinese property developers to issue U.S. dollar bonds and for high-yield credits to consider longer tenors.” The Hong Kong team of Matthew Sheridan, Janney Chong and Renee Xiong led Sidley’s efforts on the China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) transaction, winning the magazine’s Investment-Grade Bond award. CNOOC’s US$1.3 billion and €500 million debt offering stood out as the first P.R.C. issuer to win over investors in the euro market, “in a year when Chinese firms accounted for over 30% of all international bonds sold in Asia,” IFR Asia said.
Excellence in M&A, debt, private placement and finance
Sidley’s success on behalf of clients earned the firm recognition for six transactions in the China Business Law Journal (CBLJ) “Deals of the Year” review. A Hong Kong-based team led by Gloria Lam, Tim Li and Nicholas Chan advised NetDragon Websoft in its merger agreement with Baidu, earning CBLJ’s M&A Deal of the Year – Inbound and Domestic award. The merger relates to the sale of the equity interests of NetDragon and other shareholders in 91 Wireless Websoft to Baidu at a total of US$1.9 billion. The firm also received Outbound M&A Deal of the Year for Wanxiang America Corporation’s US$257 million acquisition of A123 Systems. John Box and Bojan Guzina, both from the firm’s Chicago office, led this sophisticated transaction, which “involved complex and novel challenges related to the coordination of the bankruptcy sale process,” according to CBLJ. This is our second recognition for this transaction, as we previously received a Cross Border Turnaround of the Year for Middle Markets award at the 2013 Turnaround Atlas Awards.
The firm also received two Debt Deal of the Year awards, one of which went to our Hong Kong team of Matthew Sheridan, Robert Mason, Carrie Li and Christopher Cheng, who advised Fosun International, through a BVI-incorporated SPV, Sparkle Assets, in its offering of US$400 million 6.875% senior notes due 2020. CBLJ said of this deal, “the bond covenants were specifically tailored to provide flexibility for the complex business model of this active Chinese conglomerate group.” The other award went to the aforementioned CNOOC’s issuance of a US$2 billion equivalent dual-tranche bond offering.
Working from our Shanghai office, Joseph Chan and his team earned Private Placement Deal of the Year for advising New Horizon Capital in its US$75 million investment in Scion Medical Technologies. This complex deal involved a portfolio company that “recently completed five asset acquisitions resulting in an extensive global patent portfolio consisting of dozens of patents across six jurisdictions,” according to CBLJ. The Banking and Finance Deal of the Year award went to Carrie Li and Robert Mason for advising Sunac and Sunac Greentown Investment as the Borrower and certain of its subsidiaries as guarantors on a complex multi-jurisdictional US$450 million three-year term loan facility.
Lastly, Asian Legal Business awarded Sidley with Debt Market Deal of the Year for our representation of J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) in a complex transaction. This deal resulted in the establishment of a 144A-eligible US$10 billion Global Medium Term Notes program, and the issue of US$1 billion 3.15% Subordinated Notes due 2023 under the program by OCBC. This final award went to Singapore-based Prabhat Mehta, who led Sidley’s team, and David Howe (London) and Steve Charest (Singapore).