IFLR1000 Reviews

Financial and corporate

International law firm Morrison & Foerster’s Singapore office serves as a hub for its regional practice and is helmed by managing partner Shirin Tang.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is strongest in M&A and also advises on banking and finance and projects matters.

The banking team advises lenders and borrowers on matters including project financing, refinancing, real estate financing and acquisition financing.

In corporate and M&A, the firm focuses on sectors including technology and telecommunications, media, financial services, private equity and real estate. The firm has also been growing its presence in the investment funds space.

The projects team has particular expertise in the oil and gas and energy sectors.

 

Key clients  

Key clients include GLP Japan Development Partners, MUFG, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Ascendent Capital Partners, Ascendent Automation and Vectr Fintech Partners.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

The banking team took on a mix of roles for lenders and borrowers on a range of financing transactions. An eye-catching deal saw the firm act for the borrower on availing a high-value sustainability-linked loan.

A headline worthy corporate and M&A deal saw the firm act for an institutional investor on Grab Holdings’ high-value merger with Altimeter Growth Corp; this stands out as the largest-ever US equity offering by a Southeast Asian company. A confidential highlight saw the firm act for an international client on a joint venture in the real estate sector.

The investment funds team had another busy year with roles on several fund formation mandates, including the formation of the largest ever Japan-focused logistics private real estate fund.

The projects team was advised on a host of cross border mandates and was particularly active on the development of renewable energy projects in Japan. A highlight saw the firm act for Tokyo Gas on the development of the first LNG receiving terminal in the Philippines.

A staffing change saw the departure of banking partner Jon Ornolfsson who left for the firm’s Tokyo office.Partner Jake Robson and of counsel Nicholas Davies left the firm’s corporate team for King & Wood Mallesons.

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Beam Mobility Holdings $26 million series A financing

E15 Fund II

GLP China Value-Add Venture III

GLP $658 million sustainability-linked loan

Grab Holdings / Altimeter Growth Corp merger

Savills Investment Management Japan Residential Fund II

Sumitomo Corporation acquisition of a 19% stake in Light Rail Manila Corporation

Tokyo Gas acquisition of renewable energy assets

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"They deliver well thought out advice that's technical, practical and commercial, and in particular are good at helping us with cross-practice projects that require inputs on private equity, capital markets, finance, tax, etc."

"Very professional, commercial, excellent knowledge and market know-how."

"Very strong expertise, extremely responsive, client service is top-notch. Partner Yemi Tepe is a trusted adviser who really understands our business drivers and our way of doing business."

"Exceptional experience across broad range of projects and situations. Very responsive and flexible, able to draw upon the global network quickly and effectively. Friendly and enjoyable culture to engage with."

"Strong legal expertise in the area of work done. Efficient and clear delivery of work/advice/opinions. Attuned to commercial needs. Additionally has good grasp of technical aspects of the project (based on previous experience) so guidance on this front was also helpful."

"Timeline for the refinance was set at a very tight schedule, however their response was very quick and detailed, which was very helpful. Also, there were many times when they had proposed to us favourable opinions more than we expected, which was very useful."

 

M&A

"Commercial, responsive, well-connected in many Asian jurisdictions."

"Excellent technical skills and client responsiveness."

"They are highly responsive, smart and provide targeted and commercial legal advice. I consider them trusted advisers."

"W&I advisory work is very a very niche area. MoFo has the most experienced lawyer in the region in this area of work, as well as being physically located in Singapore, which is a strategic hub for this industry."

 

Champ Charernthamanont

"Champ is very hard working and responsive, he manages deals well and approaches transactions in a pragmatic and commercial way. I really enjoy working with him."

 

Tessa Davis

"Incredible breadth of experience across all kinds of projects, financings and restructuring situations, along with M&A and disputes. Commercially very astute and rigorous. Uncanny ability to connect issues and potential risks or opportunities across complex and often seemingly unconnected agreements. Innovation on sticking points, always trying to resolve to a solution that works for us but is also saleable to the counterparty.  Strong negotiator and advocate for client’s position. Assertive but engaging and collaborative style, not aggressive or rude. Provided us and head office with high level of confidence in our diligence, structuring and documentation. One of a very few lawyers I would turn to for trusted advice on either personal or family office commercial matters."

"She has taken good care of the issue we have with lenders in detail, foreseeing  possible arising responses, and preparing counter measures and comments. Also her response was very quick despite weekends/midnight."

"Strong legal expertise in this field of work. Extremely user-friendly. Delivery and execution of work is top notch."

 

Ang Lip Kian

"Very responsive and excellent team player."

 

Maria Steeples

"Maria is incredibly commercial, responsive and has an unrivalled knowledge of the warranty and insurance market in Asia. She is the 'go-to' underwriting counsel for us and, I suspect many, of our competitors as well!"

"Maria is the preeminent lawyer in the W&I space in Asia. It is a very niche technical area and there are no other lawyers in Asia with her level of knowledge or experience. She manages to deliver commercial practical advice and cuts through issues in a very timely manner. She is indispensable to our business and prioritizes us."

 

Shirin Tang

"Top level leader who guides a top-tier legal team."

 

Yemi Tepe

"Excellent subject matter expertise and market knowledge. Client service and responsiveness is top notch."

"Yemi gave us great advice grounded on professional and technical assessments, with good commercial understanding of the negotiation dynamics."