MOFO ADVISES SOFTBANK ON ALIBABA’S IPO

Shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BABA.

Chinese E-Commerce giant Alibaba Group has made a successful initial public offering of American Depository Shares (ADSs), each representing one ordinary share of Alibaba, one of the largest stock listings in history. The deal values the company at $168 billion, rivalling Facebook’s IPO raised $21.8 billion. No stranger to mega-deals, law firm Morrison & Foerster is providing legal counsel to SoftBank Corp., Alibaba’s largest shareholder, on this much anticipated IPO. SoftBank will continue to own more than 30% of the Chinese company’s shares after the IPO.

Siegel Kenneth
Siegel Kenneth

The Morrison & Foerster team advising SoftBank includes Tokyo managing partner Ken Siegel, Tokyo partners Ivan Smallwood and Kenji Taneda, and San Francisco partner Andrew Winden, along with Tokyo associates Noah Carr, Justin Jamail, Keiko Hayakawa and Leo Martin.

MoFo also represented SoftBank in connection with the restructuring of Alibaba’s financial services businesses in preparation of Alibaba’s IPO. MoFo’s team representing SoftBank was led by Tokyo managing partner Ken Siegel, along with Tokyo partners Ivan Smallwood and Stuart Beraha, Tokyo associates Noah Carr, Seth Graham, Justin Jamail, Keiko Hayakawa, Leo Martin and Matt O’Donnell, Beijing partner Sherry Yin, and Beijing associate Jing Bu.

Morrison & Foerster has represented SoftBank in several complex, high-profile transactions in recent years. The firm advised SoftBank in a three-way transaction between SoftBank, Yahoo and Alibaba pursuant to which Alibaba repurchased half of Yahoo’s shares in the company for $7.6 billion, the parties re-stated their shareholders agreements, and SoftBank became Alibaba’s largest shareholder. This transaction was one of the largest technology transactions of 2012, and is the largest ever investment/M&A transaction between a U.S. company and Chinese company. The firm was also SoftBank’s lead M&A, antitrust, and litigation counsel for the company’s $21.6 billion acquisition of a 78 percent stake in Sprint Nextel; Morrison & Foerster also represented SoftBank in Sprint Nextel’s Clearwire acquisition. The Sprint Nextel deal was the largest announced U.S. transaction of 2012 (with a $44.8 billion enterprise value) and the largest outbound investment in Japan’s history.

Ivan Smallwood
Ivan Smallwood

Morrison & Foerster was named Japan International Law Firm of the Year by Chambers Asia Pacific Awards 2014, and was recognized by Chambers Asia Pacific 2014 as having more top-tier practice rankings and more top-tier leading individuals than any other international firm in Japan. Morrison & Foerster was named International Deal Firm of the Year, IP Law Firm of the Year and Litigation Law Firm of the Year by the Asian Legal Business Japan Law Awards 2013. The firm is also highly recommended by the 2014 edition of International Financial Law Review’s IFLR1000 and The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2014.