Magic Circle Firms on China Auto Dealer Deal

, The Asian Lawyer

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Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer had the lead roles on Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd.’s $729 million investment in Chinese automobile retailer Zhongsheng Group Holdings Ltd.

According to documents filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Jardine Strategic, the investment arm of Hong Kong conglomerate Jardine Matheson Ltd., will pay $331 million to buy 12.5 percent of Zhongsheng’s existing share capital, and subscribe for a further $398 million in three-year convertible bonds. Jardine Strategic will hold up to 20 percent of Zhongsheng after converting the bonds.

Hong Kong-listed Zhongsheng operates 45 car dealerships across China selling brands including Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen and Chrysler. Jardine already operates Mercedes dealerships in Hong Kong and South China, as well as other auto dealerships in Southeast Asia and in the U.K.

Linklaters Hong Kong partner Robert Cleaver advised Jardine Strategic on the investment. Jardine general counsel Giles White was Linklaters Asia managing partner before going in-house in 2009.

Freshfields Beijing partner Richard Wang and Hong Kong counsel Bing Guan led a team advising Zhongsheng.

Email: azhang@alm.com.

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