US law firm Latham & Watkins has hired three new partners to join its Hong Kong unit to fortify its private equity and leveraged finance advisory business, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
The firm, which rose to 31st last year on the Dealogic Asia ex-Japan mergers and acquisitions league table from 53rd the year before, wooed Simon Cooke from Clifford Chance, a London-headquartered law firm.
Cooke specialised in private and public M&A and corporate finance with a focus on pan-Asian private equity transactions and also advised on growth capital, pre-IPO investments and private investment in public equity, the firm said in a statement.
According to Cooke’s LinkedIn profile, he worked at Clifford Chance for about 20 years.
Meanwhile, Amy Beckingham joined the company from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer where she spent about 12 years in its London and Hong Kong offices. She provides advice to private equity and financial investors in public and private M&A as well as joint ventures.
Gary Hamp joined the company from Hogan Lovells, where he focused on acquisition and leveraged finance and worked with a number of investment and commercial banks in London and Hong Kong, the statement said. Hamp spent more than 11 years at Hogan Lovells, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Latham & Watkins advised on $14.5 billion worth of M&A transactions in Asia ex-Japan last year, according to data-tracking firm Dealogic.
Bryant Edwards, chairman of the law firm's Asia practice, said he saw a strong growth in private equity and related business in Asia, in particular where high yield has grown to become a significant part of leverage finance.
“Over the years, Latham has been deeply involved in the development of private equity and leveraged finance markets in the United States and Europe, and there are clear signs that those markets are growing and evolving in Asia,” Bill Voge, managing partner of Latham & Watkins, said in the statement.
The firm separately also said that it plans to open an office in Seoul after signing a property lease in the capital city of South Korea. The Seoul office will be the firm’s sixth base in Asia, adding to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo.
“Seoul is a vibrant business and financial hub with strong and growing importance across the region and globally. We have more than two decades of experience working with a number of key South Korean market players and we are committed to supporting our South Korean clients.” Voge told FinanceAsia.