Clifford Chance is relocating Simon Cooke, a partner specialising in private equity transactions, from London to the firm's Hong Kong office where he will work alongside Andrew Whan.
Cooke joined Clifford Chance in 1996 and became a partner in May 2006. He has worked on deals involving a number of leading private equity firms including Carlyle, Permira and Candover, as well as a number of sovereign wealth funds. He graduated in law at Cambridge University.
"Simon will complement our experienced Asia-based team. Like our clients, we remain upbeat and believe that the private equity market in this region will continue to weather the global financial storm, and want to have the best team possible on the ground," says Whan in a written statement.
Clifford Chance has 350 lawyers in Asia and offices in China, Thailand, Singapore and Japan. The firm says its private equity legal team is the largest in Asia.
Activity from financial sponsors in Asia has slowed down in tandem with the global trend. Some investors are waiting for stock markets to bottom out as even unlisted companies use listed comparables for benchmarking. Others are unable to earn their desired rate of return as the credit crunch has resulted in leverage for private equity deals drying up.
But private equity deals in Asia had never reached the aggressive leverage multiples of deals in the West -- most were financed through more traditional bank financing packages. Private equity firms who have raised Asia-specific money are scouting for opportunities and market observers believe that private equity investing in Asia could rebound earlier than in some Western markets.