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经历疫情初期的爆发式增长后,全球及中国并购市场迎来了“至暗一年”。伴随并购交易数量的下滑,交易的复杂程度却不断提升,所牵涉因素也愈发多元。今年上榜ALB并购排名的律师事务所可谓在重压之下呈现出真正的专业实力,他们也期待以勤奋、精进,陪伴并购市场迎来下一个春天。

 

今年ALB China并购排名的调研期间为2022年5月至2023年5月,用“至暗时刻”来形容这一阶段的中国并购市场并不算夸张。2022年下半年,中国社会接连经历疫情管控和政策调整引发的大规模感染,许多交易由于客观因素而难以推进;2023年上半年,在美联储持续加息、俄乌冲突继续、全球经济疲软的背景下,预期中的经济反弹并未如期而至,全球反而因各种不确定性陷入“信心危机”,导致并购交易市场依旧呈现不乐观的现状。

在这样的背景下,和去年相比,上榜2023 ALB China 并购排名的律所并未出现剧烈变化。较2022年,今年有5家新上榜律所,4家律所则出现了排名上升。可以看到,并购市场的头部律所仍旧维持着既往的市场优势,少数律所则在变动中真正识别到了机遇所在,参与交易数量、参与交易的重要性都得到了显著提升。

市场调研机构的数据也证实了上述观察。根据普华永道,2022年,中国在全球市场中扮演着重要角色,其并购交易量和交易额分别约占全球的22%和15%。不过去年,中国的并购交易总额跌至2014年以来的最低水平,交易额10亿美元以上的超大型交易和私募股权基金交易大幅减少,且几乎所有行业的交易额都出现了下降。

如果说2022年的并购市场十分低迷,2023年上半年并购市场的表现愈发不如人意。根据路孚特数据,2023年上半年涉及中国内地的并购总额同比下降27.4%,是自2020年以来交易金额最低的上半年,其中境外并购总额仅为89亿美元,同比下降15.1%。

产业板块方面,“涉及中国内地的并购交易主要集中在工业领域,原材料位居第二,高科技行业紧随其后”,路孚特指出。此外根据万得数据,资本货物、房地产板块在上半年也呈现出一定活力。

来自律师的感受

上述情况也如实反映在了法律服务板块之中。天元律师事务所公司与并购部管理合伙人朴昱律师告诉ALB:“受到整个经济基本面不稳定的影响,去年下半年和今年上半年的并购交易进行节奏都比较慢。”不过她也指出,“并购数量还是整体呈上升趋势,今年一二季度的并购业务缓慢恢复,三季度逐渐新增和加速了并购业务的数量”。

在万商天勤律师事务所上海办公室合伙人戎云林律师看来,三年疫情和过去一年的低迷市场实际上对不同类型的客户产生的影响并不相同:“可以把中国的并购市场分为三大领域来看:一是国有企业的并购;二是民营企业,尤其上市公司的并购;三是外资企业的并购。”

“过去几年,国有企业的并购项目仍在蓬勃发展,因为国企在投资等方面要承担一定指标,虽然受疫情波及,项目或许未达预期,但并没有受到颠覆性影响。”

而在民营企业、上市公司方面,“部分企业还是做了些投资、并购项目,但总体并不活跃。今年伴随政府防疫措施放开、招商引资及投资鼓励政策大规模出台,市场在慢慢恢复之中,但还需要个过程。一些民营企业缺乏足够资金开展大型并购项目,仍处于观望状态”。

与此同时,过去几年“外资企业的并购受到了很大影响,防疫措施使得一些项目的讨论考察几乎无法展开,FDI、ODI数量非常少。预期国际并购的恢复需要较长时间,目前主要集中于国内企业的并购交易”,戎律师坦言。

通力律师事务所合伙人佘铭律师主要代表基金、投资机构和大型企业参与并购交易。她介绍说,2022财年,她和团队有幸参与了几个大型交易,业务量并没出现明显下滑。但还是感受到了市场的变化,特别到了今年,“客户的咨询数量以及我们开新案的速度明显降低……从业务储备量来看,压力还是很大的”。

与此同时,佘律师参与的交易行业、类型也在发生变化。此前她曾主导大量高科技——如芯片、医疗等领域的跨境并购交易,而“过去一个财年里我们参与了多个项目,其中有4单最后都因为非关项目商业考量的原因没有完成,有的项目已经签约,然而,由于没有通过外国政府批准,客户只能选择放弃。在此之后跨境交易,特别是涉及高新科技行业的项目数量就明显减少了”。

此外,国内并购市场也不算活跃,大家对于高新科技行业更为谨慎。相比之下,传统行业则展现出一定的稳定性,“现在跟着潮流走的交易明显变少了,大家对于看不清楚的东西表现得格外谨慎,对于项目的尽调要求也更高了,尽调过程也更仔细了”,佘律师说。

仍有一些亮点

律所的并购业务服务于快速变化的商业世界,反映着全新的市场趋势,从事这一领域的律师也往往对市场机遇有着敏锐嗅觉。因此,过去一年的并购市场虽然不算理想,律师也从中观察到了一些亮点和新变化。

天元的朴昱律师概括道:“今年并购业务的特点主要有几方面:首先是主体角度,境内外上市公司发起控股型收购的数量在增加;其次是国央企投资机构或者产业基金成为了收购或者投资的主要参与方。”

在产业和行业角度,“我们参与的控股型收购主要发生在生活服务、消费、新能源、商业地产领域,投资领域主要在高端制造或智能制造、消费、医疗器械、新能源等行业”。

此外,朴律师观察到今年香港上市公司参与的收购明显在增加。“一方面香港上市公司及其境内资产越来越多成为被并购目标,收购方谋求上市公司主体开展更多资本运作,香港上市公司籍此完成重大业务调整;另一方面香港作为国际金融中心和自由贸易港,一直注重金融创新,这两年越来越多有意开拓出海业务的企业可以借香港的企业和金融服务顺利开展境外架构的搭建。”她说。

过去几年,伴随中美贸易摩擦逐渐升级,万商天勤的戎云林律师将自身团队的业务重心从跨境转向了国内并购项目,探索出了新的机遇。尤其在新能源领域,“我们已经参与了近20个风电、光伏、水电类并购项目,也参与了多起新能源汽车、电机相关项目”,戎律师说。

此外,部分中小型外企由于竞争力下降等原因逐渐退出中国市场,“他们会把股权转让给上市公司,或者国有资本和地方基金,这类退出业务我们也参与了不少,通常代表国内基金收购优质的外商投资项目”。

戎律师指出,即便当前的市场环境不够理想,不同类型企业仍旧有参与并购交易的驱动力。“例如国有企业,以保障国企资产规模稳健且扩大发展为目标,且融资难度较低,通常偏好重资产行业;上市公司则出于优化业绩信息、扩大市场占有率的目的展开并购交易。”

通力的佘铭律师对此也有同感,她指出,虽然市场主体十分谨慎,但并购的需求依旧存在。“例如并购基金,其存在目的就是通过并购项目为投资人获取回报,所以项目可以一时减少但总还是要继续做。”

此外,对于公司而言, “依靠纯粹的自身增长非常有挑战,为了保持持续增长,就要不断寻求包括并购在内的一切发展机会”。例如传统领域企业呈现出更为稳健的并购特点,“他们对于行业的发展有更为深刻的理解,不至于因为一时的经济下行压力就停止并购,会持续寻找并购机会,也会利用这样的市场下行机会谈到更好的交易机会和价格等”。

佘律师还观察到,在真正发展态势好的行业领域,如新能源汽车领域,“投资并购的上升态势压都压不住”。

并购服务面临新挑战

在变化的市场和业务下,并购律师也发现,他们正面临着全新的挑战。

具体到挑战的内容,戎云林律师仍旧按照不同项目类型进行了介绍。首先是国内并购项目,“还是按照原本的法律框架、流程进行,没有特别的变化,只不过现在的监管比较严格,需要律师对流程有更多的把控”。

而跨境并购项目——假使能够推进,需要律师考虑的因素更为多元、不确定性极强。“例如法律方面,需要考虑欧盟、美国等地出口管制和安全性审查制度的加强,在正式尽调过程中对项目可能面临的障碍做具体分析,否则一旦签约,协议却落实不了,会给客户带来风险。”

此外,律师还得考虑政治、商业等因素,“受俄乌冲突影响,各方面成本都有所提高,尤其冲突对能源行业影响很大,导致电费等大大增加。作为律师,不仅要从法律方面提供建议,还要从商务等方面为客户展开风险分析,提前考虑到项目的不确定因素、加入‘分手费’等条款”。

朴昱律师对此十分认同,她指出,未来一段时间并购交易都可能面临更不确定的结果和操作周期。尤其对于涉及跨境的交易,“特别是涉及资金向境外汇出的并购交易,在交易结构设计和交割确定性方面的挑战明显增加……除了通常需要考虑和谈判的商务问题,律师要在交易早期就对纳税申报的责任方、确切的纳税金额、技术出口涉及的备案、资金出境涉及银行的手续、股权变更登记和资金汇出先后顺序等法律及非法律专业问题同时兼顾到,从而避免交易进行中的不确定影响,同时由于交易双方交易意愿的‘窗口期’可能转瞬即逝,对律师的响应速度要求也更高了”。

在戎云林律师看来,并购向来是项复杂的工作,需要运用综合性知识才能做好。一方面,并购律师需要对特定行业具备深度了解,“知道行业的监管特点、特殊风险点是什么。不同行业有自身的惯例和实践,对于风险把控,律师绝不能‘一刀切’,否则会影响交易的顺利进行”。

此外,律师对于税务、会计,甚至技术知识也应有所把握。“在并购项目中,从尽调,到交易架构设计,再到协议的草拟和定稿,律师全方位参与,一定程度扮演着主导交易的角色。如果缺乏相关知识,对风险就难以做出基本的判断,又如何协调好整个项目?我相信这也是中国并购律师未来的发展方向。”

经历调整期:并非坏事

如果说新的挑战是对律师业务能力的一种“修炼”,在佘铭律师看来,目前投资并购行业的整体放缓也并非全是坏事,行业和服务于行业的律师都可以借此机会调整自身,为下一波发力做好准备。

佘律师坦言,在快速发展的市场下会出现不少盲目跟风的交易,放缓的市场反而能让行业回归成熟沉稳的心态。她观察到,近年国内的私募投资行业的水准已经有了很大提升,“过去项目中碰到很多判断凭直觉的情况,而近年在交易之中,无论收购方或者被收购方,都处于专业程度比较对等的位置,都能够‘摆事实、讲道理’,而不常出现投资人一面倒的情况。很多时候能够感觉到交易双方都有着非常敏锐的商业直觉”。

在日渐成熟的市场中,并购律师也面临新的挑战,尤其年轻律师更要把专业学好,打下扎实的基础。“例如我们团队每周五都有雷打不动的内部培训。”佘律师说,“我认为市场越艰难,律师越要专业。既然项目减少了,那么客户也有更多的机会与专业的律师合作;而且市场下行反而加强了客户与专业的律师合作的意愿,希望律师能为其项目保驾护航。如果律师盲目去转型做其他领域,反而会丧失自身的竞争力,毕竟在中国日益成熟的法律市场,专业化程度也越来越高,一个刚刚转型的律师所面临的挑战肯定要大于在相关领域深耕多年的律师。”

与此同时她也指出,“虽然如今大部分客户都有成本控制的压力,但因为并购项目涉及金额较大,项目风险较高,所以客户通常更希望把交易做好,而不是为了控制一点点成本而导致不必要的项目风险;因此也更倾向于选择市场地位领先的律所和深耕行业的专业律师,所以律师行业看准时机,在市场下行的压力下实现一定增值也不是完全没有机会”。

不过,佘律师切身感受到如今并购律师的商务拓展压力大了。原来业务忙,经常无暇分身参加市场活动。 “如今,真的有必要多出去跑一跑。让客户多看到你,有项目的时候就更容易想到你。”她分享了一个最近的例子:她介绍了一个项目给到争议解决领域的律师,在陪同拜访客户的过程中,客户其他部门的领导看到她就说“正好有个项目可以找你。” 她后续也真的和客户达成了合作。佘律师说“这让我感受到:如果那天没有过去拜访,客户就可能找了其他律师,这个业务机会也就不存在了”。

下一步展望

谈到对2023年未来几个月以及2024年并购交易情况的展望,律师们坦言,这很大程度上取决于宏观经济走向。“我预期今年下半年和2024年各种并购交易的活动仍然是活跃的,不过经济复苏的强劲与否将会影响交易规模和成功率。”天元的朴昱律师说。

“去年下半年开始A股上市在逐渐收紧,有可能A股上市公司的并购会增加。”她补充道。

万商天勤的戎云林律师也认为,海外投资者还需要重新认识中国的开放政策,因此国际业务的恢复需要一定时间,“未来还是国内业务占据主导”,尤其长三角、珠三角地区专业且资金实力雄厚的机构或企业,未来将继续贡献质量过硬的项目,以及较大的业务量。

通力的佘铭律师则指出,下一步并购领域的律师们要有所调整,也要有所坚持。“一方面,我们不会也不应该放弃原本深耕的行业领域;另一方面,我们也借此机会对团队结构进行适当的调整及优化。此外,我们也会重点关注律师行业面临的新挑战,例如人工智能对于基础法律工作的覆盖及影响等。”她说,“总而言之,我们也会以更稳健的态度面对,在项目选择、团队发展方面都会更谨慎。”


 

2023 ALB China M&A Rankings

 

After explosive growth in the early days of the pandemic, the pace of M&A transactions has slowed down drastically globally and in China. However, although the number of M&As is on the decline, the complexity of those transactions continues to increase, involving ever more diverse factors. The firms listed in this year’s ALB M&A Rankings have demonstrated real professional capabilities under tremendous pressure. They are also looking forward to the next M&A spring with diligence and hard work.

 

It is no exaggeration to describe May 2022 and May 2023, the period covered by this year’s ALB China M&A Rankings, as the “darkest hour” of China’s M&A market. In the second half of 2022, pandemic control measures and infection waves in China made it difficult for many deals to advance due to objective factors. The first half of 2023, on the other hand, saw continuous interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and a weakening global economy. As a result, the expected economic rebound did not materialise. Instead, the whole world is plunged into a crisis of confidence due to various uncertainties, resulting in the continued subdued status of the M&A market.

Against this backdrop, there have not been dramatic changes to the firms listed in the 2023 ALB China M&A Rankings. Compared to 2022, there are five new entries this year, and four firms have moved up in the rankings. Leading M&A firms continue to maintain their existing market advantages, while a small number of firms has truly spot opportunities amid crisis, and managed to significantly increase the number and the importance of the deals they are involved in.

Data from market research agencies have confirmed the above observations. According to PwC, China played an important role in the global M&A market in 2022, with its M&A deals volume and value accounting for approximately 22 percent and 15 percent of the global total, respectively. However, last year’s total M&A value in China has fallen to its lowest since 2014, with a sharp drop in mega deals worth more than $1 billion and private equity fund transactions, and the decline in transaction value is visible in almost all industries.

With an already sluggish M&A market in 2022, the market performed even worse in the first half of 2023. Refinitiv data point to a year-on-year decline of 27.4 percent in total M&A value involving Mainland China in the first half of 2023, the lowest first half in terms of transaction value since 2020. Specifically, overseas M&As recorded only $8.9 billion in total value, down 15.1 percent from a year earlier.

In terms of industries, “M&A deals involving Mainland China are mainly concentrated in industrial fields, followed by raw materials and high-tech industries in second and third,” says Refinitiv. In addition, according to Wind data, capital goods and real estate sectors also exhibited some vitality in the first six months of 2023.

OBSERVATIONS FROM LAWYERS

Market realities have been acutely felt by those in the legal services industry. Piao Yu, managing partner of corporate and M&A practice of Tian Yuan Law Firm, tells ALB: “Affected by the unstable fundamentals of the entire economy, the pace of M&A deal-making in the second half of last year and the first half of this year was relatively slow. However, the number of M&As is still on an upward trend overall. Deal-making has slowly recovered in the first and second quarters of this year, and the number of M&As has gradually increased and accelerated in the third quarter.”

According to Rong Yunlin, a partner in the Shanghai office of V&T Law Firm, the three-year pandemic and the sluggish market in the past year have, in fact, affected different types of clients differently: “China’s M&A market can be divided into three major segments: M&As of State-owned enterprises (SOEs); M&As of private enterprises, especially listed companies; and, M&As of foreign-invested enterprises.”

“In the past few years, the M&A projects of SOEs were still booming. This is because SOEs have certain KPIs to hit in terms of investment and other aspects. Although the projects may not have met expectations due to the pandemic, SOEs have not been disruptively affected in terms of their M&As.”

As for private enterprises and listed companies, “some of them still did some investment and M&A projects, but they were generally not active. This year, with the lifting of pandemic control measures by the government and the introduction of a slew of policies to attract and incentivise investment, the market is slowly recovering. However, recovery takes time. Some private enterprises lack sufficient funds to carry out large-scale M&As and are still holding out.”

At the same time, in the past few years, “M&As of foreign-invested enterprises have been greatly affected. Pandemic control measures have made it almost impossible to discuss and study some projects, and the amount of FDI and ODI was neglectable. The recovery of international M&A deal-making is expected to take a longer time. At present, M&As are primarily concentrated on domestic enterprises,” says Rong.

Selena She, partner of Llinks Law Offices, mainly represents funds, investment institutions and large enterprises in M&A transactions. According to her, in fiscal year 2022, she and her team participated in some large deals, and there had been no significant drop in business volume. This year, however, “the number of inquiries from clients and the speed at which we start new projects have decreased significantly... We are still under great pressure this year in terms of business pipeline.”

At the same time, the industries and types of deal-making in which She is involved are also changing. Previously, she had led a large number of cross-border M&As in high-tech fields. “We had worked on four such deals in the past fiscal year, but none of them were eventually completed. Some deals failed to obtain approval from foreign governments although contracts had been signed, as a result of which clients had no choice but to give up. Since then, we have been seeing few cross-border transactions.”

In addition, for industries such as chips, even domestic M&As are not particularly active. In contrast, traditional industries have been relatively stable. “Nowadays, transactions that follow the trend are clearly on the decline,” says She.

STILL SOME HIGHLIGHTS

Although the M&A market in the past year has not been the best, lawyers have still observed some highlights and opportunities.

“This year’s M&A activities have shown the following key characteristics: first, in terms of market participants, the number of acquisitions initiated by domestic and foreign listed companies to acquire controlling stakes is increasing; second, State-owned or central enterprise investment institutions or industrial funds have become major participants in acquisitions or investments,” summarises Piao.

In terms of industries and sectors, “the controlling stake acquisitions that we have participated in mainly take place in the fields of life services, consumption, new energy and commercial real estate, while investments mainly focus on industries including high-end or smart manufacturing, consumption, medical devices, new energy, etc.”

In addition, Piao has also noticed a significant increase in acquisitions involving Hong Kong-listed companies this year. “On the one hand, more and more Hong Kong-listed companies and their Mainland assets have become targets of M&As. Acquirers hope to take advantage of the listing status of those companies to carry out more capital operations, while those Hong Kong-listed companies hope to complete major business adjustments through such M&As. On the other hand, as an international financial centre and a free trade port, Hong Kong has always been focusing on financial innovation. In the past two years, more and more companies interested in expanding overseas are able to use Hong Kong enterprises and financial services to smoothly structure their overseas expansion.”

In the past few years, as trade frictions between China and the United States gradually escalating, Rong has shifted his team’s business focus from cross-border deals to domestic M&As. In particular, in the new energy field, “we have participated in nearly 20 wind power, photovoltaic and hydropower M&As, as well as multiple projects related to new energy vehicles and electric motors.”

In addition, as some small and medium-sized foreign-invested enterprises gradually exit the Chinese market due to reasons such as weakening competitiveness, “they will transfer their equity to listed companies or State-owned capital and local funds. We have also been involved in many such exits, usually representing domestic funds to acquire high-quality foreign investment projects.”

According to Rong, although the current market environment is not ideal, different types of enterprises are still driven to do M&As. “Take SOEs for example. Their goal is to ensure the stability and expansion of State-owned assets, and they have less difficulty accessing financing. Therefore, SOEs usually prefer asset-heavy industries. Listed companies, on the other hand, engage in M&As for the purpose of optimising performance information and expanding market share.”

She shares the same view, pointing out that although market players are very cautious, the demand for M&As is still there. “For example, the very existence of M&A funds is to acquire target companies. So such funds will continue to operate.”

In addition, companies, especially high-tech companies, “will find it extremely challenging to rely on pure organic growth, and their development needs to be achieved through M&As. To maintain growth in figures, they have to continue to look for M&A opportunities.” M&As of enterprises in traditional fields have shown more stability. “Those enterprises will continue to do M&As. All they want is to lock in better transaction prices or adjust the transaction pace appropriately.”

She also observes that in fields with bright development potential, such as new energy vehicles, “the upward trend of investment and M&As cannot even be suppressed.”

CONFRONTING NEW CHALLENGES

Amid changing markets and business, M&A lawyers have realised that they are also facing new challenges.

Rong speaks about specific challenges based on project types. Firstly, domestic M&As “continue to be carried out in accordance with the existing legal framework and procedures. However, regulation is rather stringent at present, requiring lawyers to have more control over the process.”

On the other hand, cross-border M&As - if they can be progressed, require lawyers to consider more diverse and highly uncertain factors. “For example, in terms of the law, lawyers need to consider the tightening of export controls and security reviews by the European Union, the United States and other places, and conduct detailed analysis of the obstacles that such projects may face during formal due diligence investigation. Otherwise, there will be risks to clients if a contract cannot be performed after being signed.”

Moreover, lawyers also need to consider political, commercial and other factors. “Affected by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, costs have increased on all fronts. In particular, the conflict has had a large impact on the energy sector, resulting in a huge hike in electricity charges. Lawyers should not only give advice from the legal perspective, but also conduct risk analysis for clients from commercial and other aspects, taking into account in advance the uncertainties of the project, adding terms such as ‘breakup fee'.”

Piao agrees and points out that M&As are likely to face more uncertain outcomes and operational cycles in the near future. In particular, for cross-border transactions, “especially M&As involving outflow of funds, the challenges in transaction structuring and delivery certainty have significantly increased... In addition to the commercial issues that normally require consideration and negotiation, lawyers need to also consider legal and non-legal issues in the early stage of deal-making, such as the party responsible for tax filing, the exact amount of tax payable, record-filing related to technology export, bank procedures concerning fund outflow, registration of equity changes and the sequence of fund remittance, so as to prevent uncertainty from affecting the transaction process. At the same time, as the ‘window of opportunity’ where both parties are willing to transact may be fleeting, the requirement on lawyers' response speed has also become higher.”

To Rong, M&A has always been a complex practice that requires one to employ comprehensive knowledge to perform well. On the one hand, M&A lawyers need to have an in-depth understanding of specific industries, and "know the regulatory characteristics and special risk points of the industries. Different industries have their own customs and practices. Therefore, lawyers must not adopt a 'one-size-fits-all' approach for risk control.”

In addition, lawyers should also have some grasp of tax, accounting and even technology knowledge. “Lawyers participate in all aspects in an M&A project, from due diligence to transaction structuring, to agreement drafting and finalisation, and play a leading role in the transaction to a certain extent. Without relevant knowledge, it is difficult for lawyers to make basic risk judgments, let alone coordinate the entire project. I believe this is also the future growth direction of Chinese M&A lawyers.”

PREPARING FOR SPRING

If new challenges are meant as "boosters" to upgrade lawyers’ professional capabilities, She believes the overall slowdown in investment and M&A at the moment is not a bad thing. Both industries and lawyers serving those industries can take this opportunity to make adjustments in preparation for the next peak of activities.

She admits that in a rapidly developing market, many deals would be conducted as a result of herd behaviour, and a slowing market can actually bring the market back to a mature and stable state. She observes that the private equity investment industry in Mainland China has made great strides in recent years. “In the past, many things were done based on instinct. Nowadays, however, transaction parties, whether the acquirer or the target, can ‘present facts and give reasons’. Often, it can be felt that both sides to a transaction have very keen business acumen.”

As the market continues to mature, M&A lawyers, especially younger lawyers, need to do their jobs even better. “For example, our team has regular internal training every Friday,” says She. “I believe the harder the market, the more professional lawyers need to be. Lawyers who blindly venture into other areas will only end up losing competitiveness.”

In addition, She feels acutely the increasing pressure on M&A lawyers to do business development, but the results are also more visible. She gave one recent example. When paying a visit to a client with a dispute resolution partner, she learned that the company was looking for a senior investment and M&A lawyer for a project, and she subsequently indeed reached a deal to work with the client. “This experience really taught me the necessity to go out to the market. If I hadn't taken the initiative to visit the client, this business opportunity would be gone.”

Meanwhile, She points out that although most clients face cost control pressure, "they usually want deals to be properly executed and are more willing to choose industry-leading lawyers. So the opportunity is not completely lost for us to take a step forward.”

LOOKING AHEAD

When it comes to the outlook for M&As in the remaining months of 2023 and 2024, lawyers admit that it largely depends on macroeconomic trends. “I expect various M&As to remain active in the second half of this year and 2024. However, the strength of economic recovery will affect the deal size and success rate,” says Piao.

“A-share listings have gradually been tightened since the second half of last year. There is a possibility for M&As of A-share listed companies to increase,” She adds.

Rong thinks that overseas investors need to form a new understanding of China’s opening-up policy, so the recovery of international business will take some time. “In the near future, domestic business will still dominate." Institutions or enterprises with professional expertise and strong financial strength in the Yangtze River Delta region and the Pearl River Delta region, in particular, will continue to contribute high-quality projects and large business volumes.

To She, in the next step, M&A lawyers need to make adjustments but also need to persevere. “On the one hand, we will not give up on the industry areas which we have gained deep knowledge about. We will also continue to watch some related fields, such as artificial intelligence,” says She. “On the other hand, we will face this year’s development calmly, and be more prudent in project selection and team capacity-building.”

 

 

CHINA DOMESTIC 中国内地内资律所

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FIRMS TO WATCH

Commerce & Finance Law Offices
通商律师事务所

Haiwen & Partners
海问律师事务所

Han Kun Law Offices
汉坤律师事务所

Jingtian & Gongcheng
竞天公诚律师事务所

JunHe
君合律师事务所

King & Wood Mallesons
金杜律师事务所

Tian Yuan Law Firm
天元律师事务所

Zhong Lun Law Firm
中伦律师事务所

AllBright Law Offices
锦天城律师事务所

Dacheng Law Offices
大成律师事务所

Dahui Lawyers
达辉律师事务所

DeHeng Law Offices
德恒律师事务所

Global Law Office
环球律师事务所

Grandall Law Firm
国浩律师事务所

Guantao Law Firm
观韬中茂律师事务所

Jia Yuan Law Offices
嘉源律师事务所

Jincheng Tongda & Neal Law Firm
金诚同达律师事务所

Llinks Law Offices
通力律师事务所

AnJie Broad Law Firm
安杰世泽律师事务所

Co-effort Law Firm
协力律师事务所

East & Concord Partners
天达共和律师事务所

FenXun Partners
奋迅律师事务所

Grandway Law Offices
国枫律师事务所

Hui Ye Law Firm
汇业律师事务所

Long An Law Firm
隆安律师事务所

Merits & Tree Law Offices
植德律师事务所

Shihui Partners
世辉律师事务所

T&D Associates
天地和律师事务所

Tahota Law Firm
泰和泰律师事务所

V&T Law Firm
万商天勤律师事务所

Beijing DHH Law Firm
北京德和衡律师事务所

Beijing DOCVIT Law Firm
北京市道可特律师事务所

China Commercial Law Firm
华商律师事务所

HHP Attorneys-At-Law
汇衡律师事务所

Hylands Law Firm
浩天律师事务所

JunZeJun Law Offices
君泽君律师事务所

Kangda Law Firm
康达律师事务所

Zhejiang L&H Law Firm
浙江六和律师事务所

 

CHINA INTERNATIONAL 中国内地外资律所

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NOTABLE FIRMS

Clifford Chance
高伟绅律师事务所

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
富而德律师事务所

Linklaters
年利达律师事务所

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
世达国际律师事务所

Allen & Overy
安理国际律师事务所

Baker McKenzie FenXun
奋迅·贝克麦坚时律师事务所

Davis Polk & Wardwell
达维律师事务所

DLA Piper
欧华律师事务所

Hogan Lovells
霍金路伟国际律师事务所

Norton Rose Fulbright
诺顿罗氏律师事务所

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
宝维斯律师事务所

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
盛信律师事务所

White & Case
伟凯律师事务所

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
佳利律师事务所

Kirkland & Ellis
凯易国际律师事务所

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
摩根路易斯律师事务所

Morrison & Foerster
美富律师事务所

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
奥睿律师事务所

Paul Hastings
普衡律师事务所

Shearman & Sterling
谢尔曼·思特灵律师事务所

Slaughter & May
司力达律师事务所

Sullivan & Cromwell
苏利文·克伦威尔律师事务所

Weil, Gotshal & Manges
威嘉律师事务所

Ashurst
亚司特律师事务所

Bird & Bird
鸿鹄律师事务所

CMS

Dorsey & Whitney
德汇律师事务所

Eversheds Sutherland
安睿顺德伦国际律师事务所

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
吉布森律师事务所

Gide Loyrette Nouel
基德律师事务所

Herbert Smith Freehills
史密夫斐尔律师事务所

Jones Day
美国众达律师事务所

K&L Gates
高盖茨律师事务所

Latham & Watkins
瑞生国际律师事务所

Mayer Brown
孖士达律师事务所

Milbank
美邦律师事务所

Nishimura & Asahi
西村朝日律师事务所

O'Melveny & Myers
美迈斯律师事务所

Reed Smith
礼德律师事务所

Ropes & Gray
瑞格律师事务所

Seyfarth Shaw
赛法思律师事务所

Simmons & Simmons
西盟斯律师事务所

Winston & Strawn
温斯顿律师事务所

 

HONG KONG SAR中国香港

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NOTABLE FIRMS

Clifford Chance 高伟绅律师事务所

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 富而德律师事务所

Kirkland & Ellis 凯易国际律师事务所

Linklaters 年利达律师事务所

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom 世达国际律师事务所

Slaughter and May 司力达律师事务所

Allen & Overy 安理国际律师事务所

Davis Polk & Wardwell 达维律师事务所

Herbert Smith Freehills 史密夫斐尔律师事务所

Latham & Watkins 瑞生国际律师事务所

Norton Rose Fulbright 诺顿罗氏律师事务所

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett 盛信律师事务所

Sullivan & Cromwell 苏利文·克伦威尔律师事务所

Weil, Gotshal & Manges 威嘉律师事务所

Ashurst 亚司特律师事务所

Baker McKenzie 贝克·麦坚时国际律师事务所

Deacons 的近律师行

Debevoise & Plimpton 德普律师事务所

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher 吉布森律师事务所

Hogan Lovells 霍金路伟国际律师事务所

King & Wood Mallesons 金杜律师事务所

Mayer Brown 孖士达律师行

Morrison & Foerster 美富律师事务所

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison 宝维斯律师事务所

Reed Smith 礼德律师事务所

Shearman & Sterling 谢尔曼·思特灵律师事务所

White & Case 伟凯律师事务所

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld 艾金岗波律师事务所

Bird & Bird 鸿鹄律师事务所

Charltons Law 易周律师行

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton 佳利律师事务所

CMS

Dechert 德杰律师事务所

Dorsey & Whitney 德汇律师事务所

Eric Chow & Co. in Association with Commerce & Finance Law Offices 周俊轩律师事务所与通商律师事务所联营

Eversheds Sutherland 安睿顺德伦国际律师事务所

Fangda Partners 方达律师事务所

Gallant 何耀棣律师事务所

Georgiou Payne Stewien徛毘施律師行

Goodwin 高赢国际律师事务所

H.M Chan & Co. (Taylor Wessing) 泰乐信律师事务所香港分所

Howse Williams 何韦律师行

K&L Gates 高盖茨律师事务所

LC Lawyers (EY) 林朱律师事务所

Milbank 美邦律师事务所

Minter Ellison 铭德律师事务所

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius 摩根路易斯律师事务所

Oldham Li & Nie 高李严律师行

O'Melveny & Myers 美迈斯律师事务所

Paul Hastings 普衡律师事务所

Proskauer Rose 普士高律师事务所

Ropes & Gray 瑞格律师事务所

Seyfarth Shaw

赛法思律师事务所

Sidley Austin 盛德律师事务所

Simmons & Simmons 西盟斯律师事务所

Stephenson Harwood 罗夏信律师事务所

Stevenson Wong & Co 史蒂文生黄律师事务所

Tanner De Witt 泰德威律师事务所

Winston & Strawn 温斯顿律师事务所

Vivien Chan & Co 香港陈韵云律师事务所

 

INDIA

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NOTABLE FIRMS

AZB & Partners

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

DSK Legal

Economic Laws Practice

IndusLaw

J Sagar Associates

Khaitan & Co.

Kochhar & Co.

Luthra & Luthra Law Offices

Majmudar & Partners

S&R Associates

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

Trilegal

Argus Partners

Bharucha & Partners

Desai & Diwanji

HSA Advocates

Link Legal

Nishith Desai Associates

Phoenix Legal

Samvad Partners

Saraf and Partners

Talwar Thakore & Associates

Touchstone Partners

TT&A

Veritas Legal

ALMT Legal

Chadha & Co

Chandhiok & Mahajan, Advocates & Solicitors

Clasis Law

Dhir & Dhir Associates

Fox Mandal & Associates

Hammurabi & Solomon Partners

Juris Corp

Krishnamurthy & Co. (K Law)

LexCounsel

P&A Law Offices

Rajani & Associates

Sarthak Advocates & Solicitors

Singh & Associates

Singhania & Partners

Spice Route Legal

Tatva Legal

Vertices Partners

Wadia Ghandy & Co

Ahlawat & Associates (NEW)

AKS Partners

Archer & Angel

Begur & Partners

Burgeon Law

Caibre Legal

Dua Associates

Gravitas Legal

Khaitan & Khaitan

• Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan, Attorneys

Mansukhlal Hiralal & Co

NovoJuris Legal

Pioneer Legal

Sagus legal

Stratage Law Partners, Advocates & Solicitors

Tempus Law Associates

Vaish Associates, Advocates

 

INDONESIA

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NOTABLE FIRMS

ABNR Counsellors at Law

Assegaf Hamzah & Partners

Ginting & Reksodiputro in association with Allen & Overy

Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners, a member firm of Baker McKenzie

Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung in association with Herbert Smith Freehills

SSEK Legal Consultants

Dentons HPRP

Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo

Makarim & Taira S.

Makes & Partners

Melli Darsa & Co

Oentoeng Suria & Partners in association with Ashurst

Soemadipradja & Taher

Walalangi & Partners (in association with Nishimura & Asahi)

Widyawan & Partners

AYMP Atelier of Law

Christian Teo & Partners

Hogan Lovells DNFP, in association with Dewi Negara

Fachri & Partners

Mochtar Karuwin Komar

Roosdiono & Partners

UMBRA – Strategic Legal Solutions

Adisuryo Dwinanto & Co

(ADCO Law)

Adnan Kelana Haryanto & Hermanto

Azwar Hadisupani Rum & Partners

Budiarto Law Partnership

Budidjaja International Lawyers

FKNK Law Firm

Hendra Soenardi

Hutabarat Halim & Rekan (HHR Lawyers)

IABF Law Firm

Imran Muntaz & Co

Leks&Co

Sutedja & Associates

TNB & Partners in association with Norton Rose Fulbright Australia

TnP Law Firm

 

JAPAN DOMESTIC

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TIER 3

 

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nishimura & Asahi

TMI Associates

Atsumi & Sakai

Ushijima & Partners

City-Yuwa Partners

Hibiya-Nakata

Kojima Law Offices

Miura & Partners

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners

Southgate

Tokyo International Law Office (TKI)

 

 

JAPAN INTERNATIONAL

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NOTABLE FIRMS

 

Allen & Overy Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

Herbert Smith Freehills

Morrison & Foerster / Ito & Mitomi

Shearman & Sterling

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Clifford Chance

Davis Polk & Wardwell

DLA Piper

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Hogan Lovells Horitsu Jimusho Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo

Linklaters

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

White & Case - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association)

Ashurst

Jones Day

King & Spalding

Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise

Mayer Brown GJBJ

Milbank

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

Norton Rose Fulbright

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Paul Hastings

Ropes & Gray

Simmons & Simmons

Squire Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho

 

 

MALAYSIA

 

 

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NOTABLE FIRMS

Christopher & Lee Ong

Rahmat Lim & Partners

Shearn Delamore & Co

Skrine

Wong & Partners (member firm of Baker McKenzie)

Abdullah Chan & Co

Adnan Sundra & Low

Kadir Andri & Partners

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill

Mah-Kamariyah & Philip Koh

Zaid Ibrahim & Co. (in association with KPMG Law)

Zain & Co

Albar & Partners

Azmi & Associates

Chooi & Company + Cheang & Ariff

Donovan & Ho

Halim Hong & Quek (NEW)

Jeff Leong, Poon & Wong

LAW Partnership

Lim Jo Yan & Co

MahWengKwai & Associates

Mohamed Ridza & Co

Naqiz & Partners

Peter Ling & van Geyzel

Raja, Darryl & Loh

Ramesh Dipendra Jeremiah Law

Tay & Partners

Wong Beh & Toh

Zul Rafique & Partners

 

PHILIPPINES

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NOTABLE FIRMS

 

ACCRALAW

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos

Quisumbing Torres (member firm of Baker McKenzie)

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura

Sayoc & De Los Angeles

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law)

Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law)

Puno & Puno

Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices

Cochingyan & Peralta Law Offices

DivinaLaw

Gorriceta, Africa, Cauton & Saavedra

Gulapa & Quicho / Gulapa & Lim (Gulapa Law)

Insights Philippines Legal Advisors

Kua Sy & Yeung Law Offices (“SKY Law”)

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano

Morales & Justiniano

Platon Martinez Flores San Pedro & Leaño

Sarmiento Loriega Law Office

Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako

 

 

SINGAPORE DOMESTIC

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NOTABLE FIRMS

Allen & Gledhill

Rajah & Tann Singapore

Morgan Lewis Stamford

WongPartnership

Drew & Napier

TSMP Law Corporation

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

Bird & Bird ATMD

CNPLaw

Dentons Rodyk

Duane Morris & Selvam

Harry Elias Partnership

RHTLaw

Shook Lin & Bok

Atlas Asia Law Corporation

Eng & Co

Oon & Bazul

Prolegis

Quahe Woo & Palmer

Virtus Law (Member of the Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance)

Withers KhattarWong

 

SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL

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NOTABLE FIRMS

Allen & Overy

Clifford Chance

Linklaters

Milbank

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Herbert Smith Freehills

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee

Jones Day

Latham & Watkins

Norton Rose Fulbright

Morrison & Foerster

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

White & Case

Ashurst

Dechert

DLA Piper

Gibson Dunn

HFW

K&L Gates Straits Law

King & Spalding

King & Wood Mallesons

Pinsent Masons MPillay

Shearman & Sterling

Sidley Austin

Stephenson Harwood (Member of the Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance)

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Clyde & Co

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang (Singapore)

Eversheds Sutherland

LNT & Partners

Mayer Brown PK Wong & Nair

Nishimura & Asahi-Bayfront Law Alliance

Reed Smith

 

SOUTH KOREA DOMESTIC

TIER 1

TIER 2

 

Bae, Kim & Lee

Kim & Chang

Lee & Ko

Shin & Kim

Yulchon

Barun Law

DR & AJU

Hwang Mok Park

Jipyong

KL Partners

SEUM Law

Yoon & Yang

 

 

SOUTH KOREA INTERNATIONAL

TIER 1

TIER 2

 

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Paul Hastings

Ropes & Gray

White & Case

Ashurst

Baker McKenzie

DLA Piper

Herbert Smith Freehills

Latham & Watkins

Milbank

O’Melveny

Simpson Thacher & Barlett

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

 

 

TAIWAN

TIER 1

TIER 2

TIER 3

 

Baker McKenzie

Jones Day

Lee and Li, Attorneys-at-Law

Tsar & Tsai Law Firm

Eiger Law

Formosa Transnational Attorneys at Law

K&L Gates

LCS & Partners

Lexcel Partners

Lin & Partners Attorneys-At-Law

Winkler Partners

Chen & Lin

Dentons

DTT Attorneys-At-Law

Formosan Brothers Attorneys at Law

Innovatus Law

Lee, Tsai & Partners

Liang & Partners

Nishimura & Asahi

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal, Taiwan

 

 

THAILAND

TIER 1

TIER 2

NOTABLE FIRMS

 

Allen & Overy (Thailand)

Baker McKenzie

Linklaters (Thailand)

Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners

Chandler MHM

Hunton Andrews Kurth

Siam Premier International Law Office

Thanathip & Partners

Tilleke & Gibbins

Axis Legal

Blumenthal Richter & Sumet

DFDL

DLA Piper

ILCT

KPMG Law Thailand

Kudun & Partners

Norton Rose Fulbright

Rajah & Tann Thailand

SCL Nishimura & Asahi Limited

Silk Legal

SRPP

The Capital Law Office

Watson Farley & Williams

 

 

VIETNAM

TIER 1

TIER 2

NOTABLE FIRMS

 

Allen & Overy

Allens

Baker McKenzie

Frasers Law Company

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Vilaf

YKVN

DFDL

Duane Morris Vietnam

Hogan Lovells

LNT & Partners

Mayer Brown

Nishimura & Asahi

Rajah Tann LCT Lawyers

Tilleke & Gibbins

Vision & Associates

Allen & Gledhill

Global Vietnam Lawyers

Indochine Counsel (NEW)

MHM Vietnam

 

 

METHODOLOGY 评选标准

The research covers the period spanning from May 2022 to May 2023. This includes both ongoing work and matters that were closed during this timeframe. ALB draws results from firm submissions, M&A data, interviews, editorial resources and market suggestions to identify and rank the top firms for M&A in Asia. Interviews will be conducted only if needed. The rankings are divided into tiers, with the first tier identifying the strongest M&A firms in each jurisdiction.

Our rankings are based on the following metrics:

       The volume, complexity and size of work undertaken

       Presence across Asia and in individual jurisdictions

       Key personnel hires and growth of the practice group

       Key clients and new client wins

       Firm’s visibility and profile in the region

 

我们的研究涵盖从20225月至20235月的并购项目,此段时期内正在进行和结束的项目均包括在内。ALB根据报名表格、并购数据、采访、编辑部的资源和市场测评来排出亚洲并购领域的顶尖律所。调查访问仅在需要时进行。排名被分成各个等级,第一级代表这个司法辖区内最强的并购律所。

我们的排名指标包括:

       所承接业务的工作量、复杂程度和规模

       在亚洲和各个司法管辖区的业务布局

       主要人员的聘用和业务团队的增长

       主要现有客户和新赢得客户

       律所在该地区的知名度和整体情况

 

 

 

TO CONTACT EDITORIAL TEAM, PLEASE EMAIL ALBEDITOR@THOMSONREUTERS.COM

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