Herbies, Linklaters land plum roles on RBS acquisition

Herbert Smith, Linklaters and Sullivan & Cromwell all scooped roles on Royal Bank of Scotland’s purchase of a stake in the Bank of China (BoC).

Herbert Smith advised BoC’s major shareholder Central SAFE Investments. The company sold a 10 per cent stake in BoC worth $3.1bn to a consortium led by RBS. The group also includes Merrill Lynch and the Li Ka-Shing Foundation. The RBS stake accounts for 5 per cent and the bank will receive a seat on the BoC board. The deal values BoC at $30bn.

Herbert Smith fielded two teams, in London and Beijing, led by corporate partner Greg Mulley. He was aided by London partners Gareth Roberts and Chris Parson. In Beijing, managing partner Jeremy Xiao headed the team with senior consultant Karen Ip.

Mulley told The Lawyer that the deal demonstrates the Chinese government tactics of bringing strategic foreign investment and know how into its economy.

RBS is not the first foreign bank to buy a stake in a Chinese state-owned bank. Earlier this year Bank of America bought a 9 per cent stake in Construction Bank of China for $2.5bn.

Linklaters represented RBS led by London partner Robert Elliott. Sullivan & Cromwell partner Chun Wei, advised BoC.