7 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – AUGUST 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM BRI EFS DEALS $6.5 BLN Merger of BPEA EQT firms Vistra and Tricor Deal Type: M&A Firms: Latham & Watkins; Milbank; Ropes & Gray Jurisdiction: Hong Kong $1.3 BLN Indonesia Investment Authority’s investment in toll roads Deal Type: Projects Firms: Herbert Smith Freehills; Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung Jurisdiction: Indonesia $685 MLN Catcha Investment’s SPAC merger with Crown LNG Holdings Deal Type: M&A Firms: Goodwin Procter; Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough Jurisdictions: Malaysia, U.S., Norway $650 MLN Pertamina and Petronas’ acquisition of stake in Masela gas block from Shell Deal Type: M&A Firm: K&L Gates Jurisdictions: Indonesia, Malaysia $600 MLN Ambuja Cement’s purchase of stake in Sanghi Industries Deal Type: M&A Firms: Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas; Khaitan & Co Jurisdiction: India $389 MLN Midtown Properties acquisition of properties from UOL Group Deal Type: M&A Firms: Rajah & Tann; WongPartnership Jurisdiction: Singapore $381 MLN Thomson Medical Group’s acquisition of FV Hospital Deal Type: M&A Firms: Dentons Rodyk; LuatViet Jurisdictions: Vietnam, Singapore $362 MLN Highway Infrastructure Trust’s acquisition of toll road projects Deal Type: M&A Firms: Allen & Overy; Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Trilegal Jurisdiction: India to sincerely provide ‘full-service’ in a foreign location is very expensive for what is likely regarded back home in Japan by at least some of the partnership as a loss-making enterprise,” explains Uchiyama. But he emphasizes the importance of local talent to help Japanese firms have an impact. “A bench of local law-qualified talent will be needed in order to generate fees out of the expansion office to cover local overhead and move beyond just being an outpost or feeder office. With this comes the need to address the operational language and cultural structure of the Japanese firm which needs to centrally communicate out of a Japanese headquarter while developing an ‘international standard’ for a majority Japanese language- and culturally based staff,” says Uchiyama, while cautioning that firm management may question the necessity to alter the culture of the many to include the few. But even with the necessary onthe-ground expertise, the global vision of these Japanese law firms is difficult to be realized, especially when they are going head-to-head with the resourceful Western outfits on their home turf. “One challenge would be in doing the business development and relationship building with non-Japanese targets and clients in the overseas location. These corporate entities often have well-embedded international law firms advising them around the world, and the firms are more than likely already established in Japan. This is a hard space to break into,” says Uchiyama. He is convinced that investment in business development and marketing services is critical for these Japanese firms to punch above their weight. And the “clients-come-to-me” attitude staunchly held by many senior Japanese partners is now likely doomed to fail. “While this may apply in a domestically oriented practice, overseas expansion is a whole new ball game in an entirely different league,” says Uchiyama.