Davis Polk and Weil lead as China’s HNA Group makes $6bn acquisition

Davis Polk & Wardwell and Weil Gotshal & Manges have won top roles on HNA Group’s $6bn (£4.17bn) purchase of Ingram Micro – the latest in a series of takeovers by Chinese companies.

Under the terms of the transaction, US technology company Ingram Micro will be acquired by Tianjin Tianhai Investment Company, whose largest stockholder is logistics conglomerate HNA Group.

Ingram Micro will operate as a subsidiary of logistics group Tianjin Tianhai, with parent company HNA Group turning to longstanding advisers Weil Gotshal.

The US firm fielded a Hong Kong team led by partners Akiko Mikumo and Charles Ching, assisted by corporate counsel William Welty and U-Hyeon Kwon. Ching joined Weil Gotshal from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer just last year and divides his time between the firm’s Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing offices.

HNA Group’s acquisition is the latest in a series of deals announced by Chinese buyers, as they look for targets overseas.In this instance, the group sought to buy US technology company Ingram Micro, which looked to Davis Polk & Wardwell for representation.

Partners Alan Denenberg and Stephen Salmon both worked with the company on corporate matters in California, while partners Rachel Kleinberg and Arthur Burke provided tax and antitrust advice. Washington-based John Reynolds worked on regulatory issues, with antitrust counsel Mary Marks also involved in New York. Counsel Cynthia Akard represented the company on executive compensation matters.

The deal means Ingram Micro will become the largest member enterprise of HNA Group in terms of revenue. It is expected to close in the second half of 2016, with Ingram Micro due to remain headquartered in California.

Background to the deal 

HNA Group is one of several large China corporations on the lookout for acquisitions in the West.

Last summer, a cross-border team from Weil Gotshal worked with the company on its £1.8bn acquisition of Swissport from PAI Partners. However, HNA Group has in the past also sought counsel from Stephenson Harwood, with the firm acting on its purchase of GE Capital’s TIP Trailer Services.

Its target Ingram Micro counts Davis Polk as a longstanding adviser and the firm has represented the company on financing programs and revolving credit facilities in the last year.

HNA Group’s announcement follows in the wake of ChemChina’s 2016 acquisitions, including its $43bn purchase of Syngenta, as well as $1bn purchase of German industrial machinery marker KraussMaffei Group.