Herbert Smith lands role on Malaysian Maxis IPO

Herbert Smith has scored a lead role on the first international initial public offering (IPO) to come out of Malaysia in five years.
A combined Singapore and London team advised global coordinator ABN Amro Rothschild and joint bookrunners ABN, Goldman Sachs and ING Bank on the international and US law aspects of the Maxis Communications IPO.
The IPO values Maxis, Malaysia’s leading mobile phone operator, at $3bn (£1.96bn). The $803m (£523.7m) global offering involved a retail offering in Malaysia and international placements, including a Rule 144A placement into the US. Corporate partner Veronica O’Shea led the team from Herbert Smith’s Singapore office, with US law advice supplied by US securities partner Jim Wickenden in London.
O’Shea said: “This is an important IPO for Malaysia in attracting significant foreign investor interest; and also a great success for the banks in closing an IPO which satisfied both domestic requirements in Malaysia as well as international expectations on a global IPO.”
Herbert Smith was invited to bid for the work. “As there hasn’t been an international IPO in Malaysia for so long, there was a lot of interest from other firms,” said O’Shea, adding that the firm’s relationship with ABN, its telecoms strength and its track record in Asia contributed to its success in winning the work.
Maxis is controlled by Malaysian entrepreneur Ananda Krishnan, who also built the world’s tallest skyscrapers, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The capital generated by floating 27 per cent of Maxis will be used to build a third-generation mobile phone system and finance possible acquisitions.
Maxis was represented by Clifford Chance, led by Singapore partner Crawford Brickley. Local law advice was provided by Cheong Kee Fong. Andrew Reilly, a partner in Jones Day Reavis & Pogue’s Sydney office, acted for selling shareholder Maxis Holdings and promoter Usaha Tegas. Malaysian firm Zul Rafique & Partners advised Maxis on local law.
O’Shea commented: “For Herbert Smith in Singapore, this IPO has been the third in a series of three excellent transactions, making it a very successful year to date.” Advising Morgan Stanley on Singapore’s banking consolidation and acting for PricewaterhouseCoopers on the worldwide separation of its consulting arm were the other two deals.
The deal bodes well for capital markets activity in Malaysia. Following a five-year dearth of international offerings, Maxis will be followed by the float of Plus, the state-owned toll motorway operator.
O’Shea concluded: “I think it will encourage other companies to contemplate IPOs, but the Malaysian market is still unsettled.”