Paul Hastings, a leading global law firm, announced today that the firm represented WH Group Limited (“WH Group”, formerly known as Shuanghui International Holdings Limited) in its US$2.36 billion (HK$18.31 billion) global offering and IPO on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (including the offering amount in the event that the over-allotment option is exercised in full). Morgan Stanley Asia Limited and BOCI Asia Limited acted as the Joint Sponsors, Joint Global Coordinators, Joint Bookrunners and Joint Lead Managers of the offering.
WH Group is the world’s largest pork company, with global leadership across key segments of the industry value chain, including packaged meats, fresh pork and hog production.
The successful completion of the listing marks one of the largest Hong Kong IPOs in 2014 to date. This also signifies Paul Hastings’ relationship with WH Group for more than a decade to date, where we began advising on its domestic M&A transactions and have evolved to now assisting the company in its global expansion.
Paul Hastings advised WH Group on a number of transactions, recent and notable transactions include, the landmark US$7.1 billion acquisition of Smithfield Foods in 2013, which marked the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese company to date. It was also one of the closely watched deals in 2013 and was awarded Best Cross-Border M&A Deal of the Year 2013 and Best China Deal of the Year 2013 by FinanceAsia; Deal of the Year 2013 by ASIAN-MENA COUNSEL and China Business Law Journal; Global M&A Deal of the Year: China Outbound in the American Lawyer’s 2014 Global Legal Awards; M&A Deal of the Year at the International Financial Law Review Americas Awards 2014; and was named a ‘Standout’ Transaction in the Corporate & Commercial category in the Financial Times US Innovative Lawyers 2013 report. For more information, please see our related release here.
In addition, our representation of WH Group and its subsidiaries in a series of offshore shareholding restructurings and a highly complex asset restructuring, which resulted in a US$2.5 billion general offer to acquire A-shares in Shuanghui Investment in 2012, marked one of the largest public company M&A transactions in China. This transaction was awarded M&A Deal of the Year 2012 by China Business Law Journal.
The first transaction we acted for WH Group dates back to the year of 2006, where we advised on the corporate restructuring of its meat processing business which involved the acquisition by Goldman Sachs and CDH of the state-owned equity interest in the business and then the merger of that interest with other equity interests in the business. This deal was listed as one of China’s top 10 M&A deals of 2006 by the China M&A Association and Global M&A Research Centre.
The Hong Kong Capital Markets team was led by Raymond Li, Partner and Chair of Greater China, with support from capital markets partners Catherine Tsang, Steven Winegar and Zhaoyu Ren, assisted by of counsels Edwin Kwok, and Bonnie Yung, and associates Tim Sung, Dane Johansen, Shawn Tai and Sunny Li.
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