Freshfields steers through Chinese Volvo acquisition

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer grabbed a prize mandate advising Chinese company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group on its $1.8bn (£1.21bn) acquisition of Volvo from the Ford Motor Company.

A large multijurisdictional team from Freshfields acted for its new client on the deal – the first time a major car manufacturer has been taken over by a Chinese company and the biggest takeover of a luxury brand so far in the country.

London corporate partner Chris Bown led for Freshfields, alongside Jack Wang in Beijing, Teresa Ko in Hong Kong and Tim Wilkins in New York. IP partner Avril Martindale also featured for the magic circle firm.

Bown said: “This is a ­landmark deal, the largest international automotive acquisition by a privately owned Chinese company and a shot in the arm for the global automotive industry. I’m sure this is the beginning of a wave of acquisitions by Chinese companies.”

Ford turned to longstanding adviser Hogan & Hartson, with European head of M&A William Curlin leading the team.

For Swedish law advice, local firms Cederquist and Mannheimer Swartling advised Geely and Ford respectively on the deal.

Geely will acquire 100 per cent of the Swedish carmaker, claiming that it will double its sales to 600,000 in five years. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of the year, pending regulatory approval.