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Deals

Maples Advises on US$87B Take Private of 58.com

14 Oct 2020

Maples and Calder, the Maples Group's law firm, was pleased to advise a buyer consortium, comprising Mr. Jinbo Yao (founder of 58.com Inc.), General Atlantic Service Company, L.P., Warburg Pincus Asia LLC and Ocean Link Asia Limited, on the take-private of 58.com Inc., a Cayman Islands company previously listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The transaction was completed on 17 September 2020 and was valued at approximately US$8.7 billion. 

58.com Inc. operates China's largest online market place for classifieds, as measured by monthly unique visitors, on both its www.58.com website and mobile applications. 

A multi-disciplinary team based in the Group's law firm in Hong Kong acted as Cayman Islands counsel to the buyer consortium. The team was led by Partner and Head of the Corporate practice in Asia, Matt Roberts and assisted by Of Counsel Karen Zhang Pallaras, Associate Steve Shin and Legal Manager Ray Tso.

Commenting on the novel transaction, Matt Roberts said, "We were delighted to support the buyer consortium on this significant global take-private transaction, which is one of the largest privatisations among US-listed China concept stocks over the past decade and also one of the biggest global M&A deals of the year.  We anticipate more Chinese take-private transactions in the short to medium term as prospective buyers, company founders and management teams look to position public companies for prospective private M&A opportunities or alternative listing opportunities in the future.  Perhaps on the main Chinese securities exchanges such as the Shanghai Stock Exchange or Hong Kong Stock Exchange."

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as international co-counsels to the consortium. Fangda Partners acted as PRC legal counsel to the consortium.

The Group's Asia team has considerable experience in advising on Chinese take-privates, many of which have involved multi-billion dollar privatisations.  In 2016, the team was selected to advise on the privatisation of cybersecurity software developer, Qihoo 360 which was a US$9.3 billion transaction. In 2017, the team acted for a logistics investment company, Global Logistic Properties Limited which was a US$11.6 billion transaction and in that same year, they also advised the Chinese footwear retailer, Belle International Holdings Limited on its US$6.8 billion privatisation.

For further information on the privatisation of Chinese listed companies, please see a recent article written by Matt Roberts here.

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