Ashurst Further Enhances M&A Capabilities in Japan

Ashurst is delighted to announce the appointment of new partner Tracy Whiriskey, based in Tokyo and working in Ashurst’s global corporate team.

Tracy joins Ashurst from Clifford Chance, having worked in their Tokyo and Hong Kong offices. Prior to that Tracy worked at Allens Linklaters where she also spent time on secondment to leading Japanese law firm, Nagashima, Ohno & Tsunematsu.

Tracy is a highly regarded M&A lawyer and has broad experience advising Japanese trading, mass media and utilities companies on large-scale outbound transactions. She has practiced in Tokyo for over ten years and is fluent in Japanese.

Tracy also has significant experience in the insurance sector and her appointment will see her work as part of Ashurst’s top tier insurance practice alongside leading individuals such as Keith McGuire in Singapore, Rehana Box in Sydney and Adam Levitt in London, advising on complex transactions in the insurance sector, including M&A, portfolio transfers, risk transfer arrangements and capital raisings.

Tracy’s appointment seeks to capitalise further on Ashurst’s key and longstanding relationships with Japanese clients and Ashurst’s prominent role on outbound corporate transactions for leading Japanese trading companies and corporates. Recent significant outbound Japanese transactions in which Ashurst has had a leading role include:
• Nippon Life Insurance Company on the acquisition of 80% of the outstanding shares of MLC Limited (MLC), a subsidiary of National Australia Bank (NAB), to the value of A$2.4 billion, and 20-year distribution agreement between MLC and NAB.
• ITOCHU Corporation on its approximately US$10.4 billion investment to acquire a 20% strategic stake in Hong Kong Stock Exchange listed CITIC Limited together with Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), and a three-way strategic co-operation agreement between ITOCHU, CP Group and CITIC.
• Mitsui & Co. Ltd., on an agreement with Total for the purchase of a 25% non-operated participating interest in the Tempa Rossa onshore oil field in Italy from Total. The acquisition was Mitsui’s first entry into oil and gas assets in Italy and followed on from its acquisition of a non-operated interest in the Alba and Britannia fields in the UK North Sea which Ashurst also advised on.

Ashurst Global Corporate Divisional Co Head Geoff Gishubl stated “Tracy has an outstanding reputation in the market for the professional legal advice she provides to her clients. Apart from her solid experience in the corporate M&A and insurance space, Tracy’s appointment adds to the firm’s offerings both locally in our Tokyo office and globally. Tracy will be a most valuable asset for Ashurst as we continue to grow our practice in the Asia-Pacific region and provide clients with the benefits of an international network and global best practice in the M&A arena”.

Ashurst’s Tokyo office, established more than 25 years ago, is led by Tokyo Managing Partner, Rupert Burrows, and has continued to grow over the past 18 months with the transfer to Tokyo of senior banking and project finance partners Matthew Bubb and Dominic Gregory, the promotion of projects and infrastructure partner Matthew Rickards, and the hiring of disputes counsel Anthony Hague.

Tracy’s appointment brings the number of partners in the Tokyo office to six, with a further 20 counsel, senior associates and associates, and two senior advisers.

Ashurst’s Tokyo office remains one of the largest foreign law firms in the Tokyo market, with market leading practices in M&A, joint ventures, banking & finance, dispute resolution, construction, infrastructure and energy.

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