Freshfields, White & Case among advisers on UK debuts for China’s Wanda

Addleshaw Goddard, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and White & Case have played roles in Chinese property developer Wanda Group’s first two major investments in the UK.

One Nine Elms

Freshfields has advised Dalian Wanda Group on its £320m acquisition of British luxury yachtmaker Sunseeker International and on its £700m investment in a five-star hotel site on London’s so-called new South Bank at One Nine Elms in Vauxhall.

In the former transaction, the magic circle firm’s team was led by corporate partners Alan Wang in Beijing, Simon Weller in Hong Kong and Paddy Ko and Adrian Maguire in London.

Sunseeker and its private equity owners, FL Partners, instructed White & Case’s London office. The White & Case team was led by corporate partner Gavin Weir, who joined the firm from Simmons & Simmons in 2011, with support from partners Philip Broke and Nicholas Greenacre in London and partners Vivian Tsoi and Tao Lan in Beijing.

In the acquisition of the property development site, Wanda was advised by Freshfields London real estate partner Emma Kendall and Wang in Beijing. The owner of the properties, Green Property, sought representation from Addleshaws Manchester-based head of real estate Mark Haywood and managing associate Dave Wilson.

Background to this deal:

Dalian Wanda has been active in overseas acquisitions. Prior to its investments in the UK, the conglomerate acquired AMC Entertainment Holdings in the US for $2.6bn last year. Wanda was represented during that deal by Davis Polk & Wardwell and Chinese firm Jingtian & Gongcheng, while Weil Gotshal & Manges acted for AMC.

In April, Wanda acquired a 60 per cent stake in Hong Kong-listed Hengli Commercial Properties. Hengli was advised by Beijing partner Lisa Chung at Slaughter and May, with Wanda advised by Chinese firm Jun He.

Market speculation has suggested Wanda is preparing for a listing in Hong Kong. No instructions have been confirmed, but Davis Polk, Freshfields and Jun He now all have Hong Kong law capability (16 August 2010).