Sullivan, Simpson Thacher join local duo on Japan Airlines’ bourse take-off

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Sullivan & Cromwell have advised alongside a duo of Japanese firms on the $8.5bn (£5.5bn) IPO of Japan Airlines (JAL), one of the largest listings globally so far this year.

Japan Airlines (JAL) has turned to longstanding Japanese adviser Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu to lead its planned flotation as Japanese counsel, with the company aiming to relist on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on 19 September, less than three years after it became one of the biggest non-financial bankruptcy cases in Japanese history.

Sullivan & Cromwell is advising JAL on US law, with Tokyo-based corporate partner Izumi Akai leading the firm’s team.

The underwriters, consisting of Daiwa Securities, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, Nomura Securities and SMBC Nikko Securities, were advised by Japanese counsel Anderson Mori & Tomotsune and international counsel Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Tokyo corporate partner Hironoshi Shibata led the Anderson Mori team.

Background to this deal:

Tokyo-headquartered Nagashima has a long track record working with JAL. It not only advised on the $1.35bn global equity offerings of JAL in 2006 as issuer’s counsel, but was also closely involved in the restructuring of the company following its bankruptcy in 2010. It acted as the issuer’s Japanese counsel in the current $8.5bn IPO and relisting.

In 2006, JAL launched a global equity offering, which consisted of 700 million shares of common stock valued at $1.35bn. In that offering, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison was the international adviser working alongside Nagashima, with the firm’s London partner Mark Bergman and Tokyo partners Kaye Yoshino and Tong Yu the lead partners. Sullivan was the international adviser to the underwriters in the offering, working alongside Japanese adviser Anderson Mori. The Sullivan team was headed by Akai, while Anderson Mori fielded Akiko Kimura, who was a partner at the time and is now an of counsel.