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Akin Gump expands to Hong Kong

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International law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is to open an office in Hong Kong, PRC, further expanding its international footprint in Asia.

Gregory D Puff, who joins the firm from Shearman & Sterling, will lead the Hong Kong office and the firm’s Asia practice. He will be joined by Andrew Abernethy from Norton Rose.

The arrival of Puff and Abernethy significantly enhances Akin Gump’s corporate, capital markets, private equity and funds experience in Asia and will complement the established trade and funds practices the firm operates in Beijing.

Akin Gump Chairman R Bruce McLean, saysL “The launch of Akin Gump’s Hong Kong office and Greg and Andrew’s arrival will enhance our ability to deliver corporate and capital markets work, as well as counsel in private equity and private equity investment funds transactions, for our clients across Asia and around the world in a number of industries, such as energy and telecoms.”

International Managing Partner Rick L Burdick says: “The firm’s strategy is to develop offices throughout the world that actively support clients in their global activities, which are currently heavily geared towards emerging markets.  We see a number of synergies between our well-established Russia and wider international practices and our plans for Hong Kong.  Given that our clients are actively expanding their business across Asia, this is the ideal time to open Akin Gump’s Hong Kong office.”

Puff says: “This move represents a tremendous personal challenge for Andrew and me; one that we both relish. Akin Gump offers a compelling proposition to companies that want truly global integrated understanding and experience – particularly in the areas of telecoms, energy and funds. I am delighted to join the firm and look forward to helping build a significant practice in Hong Kong.”

In keeping with Akin Gump’s well-established practice in Beijing, the firm’s Hong Kong work will complement not only the firm’s funds, telecoms and energy practices, but its Asian trade and policy practices as well. Additionally, this move will help the firm build on its recognized practice strengths across South and Southeast Asia.

The firm will offer US, English and Hong Kong legal advice in the coming months.

Initially, the firm will advise on pan-Asian M&A, private equity fund formation and management of equity capital markets listings for existing firm clients. In the future, the firm will expand the practice to advise on hedge fund formation, project and infrastructure development and finance, oil and gas transactional work, international arbitration and wider dispute resolution, and international policy and trade work.

Leonid Fedun, Vice-President of Akin Gump client OAO LUKOIL and Head of Strategic Development and Investment Analysis, commented, “Like many forward-looking companies, OAO LUKOIL is examining numerous opportunities in Asia. Given our strong and collaborative relationship with Akin Gump, we welcome the opening of the firm’s Hong Kong office as a way to help further develop our relationships and opportunities in Asia.”

Gregory Puff, recognised in leading independent legal guides such as Chambers Global (for high-end corporate/M&A work for China (Hong Kong-based)), IFLR 1000 and the Asia-Pacific Legal 500, is admitted to practice in New York and Hong Kong. He has been involved in a wide array of public and private mergers and hostile transactions, stock and asset purchases and joint ventures.  He regularly represents multinational corporations and global investment and commercial banking firms in their M&A transactions around the world.  In addition, Puff has previously practiced in New York, London and Tokyo. He received his J.D. cum laude from New York University School of Law in 1993 and has a B.A. in accounting from the University of Northern Iowa.

Andrew Abernethy is an M&A and investment funds lawyer. His experience includes advising on international M&A, particularly cross-border transactions, investment funds formation and a range of equity and convertible securities offerings. Andrew is named in the International Who’s Who of Private Funds Lawyers and as a leading M&A lawyer in China and Hong Kong in the IFLR 1000. The Legal 500 Asia Pacific for 2011-2012 noted that, in Hong Kong investment funds, “the ‘fantastic’ Andrew Abernethy provides ‘solid advice based on commercial considerations.’” Andrew has law degrees from Victoria University (New Zealand) and The University of Chicago and is admitted in New York, England and Wales, and Hong Kong.

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