Paul Hastings has hired former Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson corporate partners Douglas Freeman and Victor Chen in Hong Kong.


News of Freeman and Chen’s recruitment comes three months after Fried Frank revealed that it was pulling out of Asia, and just a day after Norton Rose Fulbright announced that it has brought the U.S. firm’s former disputes team on board in Hong Kong.


The addition of Chen and Freeman, Fried Frank’s former Asia head, will bolster Paul Hastings’ M&A and private equity expertise in Asia. The duo have advised on a number of notable China-related deals over the past few years, including the landmark $3.7 billion acquisition of display-advertising provider Focus Media Holding, the $900 million privatisation of software company AsiaInfo-Linkage, and Alibaba Group’s $1.5 billion purchase of digital mapping and navigation firm AutoNavi Holdings.


“Doug and Victor’s addition highlights the firm’s strategy to continue to strengthen and broaden the reach of our Asia Corporate practice and our focus on key growth markets across our global network,” said Elizabeth Noe, chair of Paul Hastings’ corporate practice, in a statement.


With the addition of Freeman and Chen, Paul Hastings now has 16 partners based in Hong Kong.


In January, ALB reported that Fried Frank is closing its offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai, effectively pulling the firm out of Asia. The firm’s Asian offices are expected to formally close by the end of June.