Slaughters and Paul Hastings lead on China shipping giant's $6.3bn acquisition of Hong Kong rival

Paul Hastings and Slaughter and May have taken the lead roles on the $6.3bn (£4.9bn) acquisition of Hong Kong-based shipping company Orient Overseas International Ltd (OOIL) by a Chinese state-owned consortium led by China COSCO Shipping.

Shanghai-based COSCO has teamed up with Shanghai International Port Group on its bid to acquire all shares of Hong Kong-listed OOIL at $10.07 (£7.82) apiece.

Paul Hastings Hong Kong partner and China practice chair Raymond Li is leading a team advising COSCO, which represents 90% of the consortium. He is working with partners including London office chair Ronan O’Sullivan, alongside colleagues in Hong Kong, Washington DC, Paris and Palo Alto.

Slaughters is representing OOIL with a team led by Hong Kong partner Benita Yu, alongside fellow corporate partners Peter Brien and John Moore and competition partner Natalie Yeung. Kirkland & Ellis is advising UBS as financial adviser to the bidders, fielding a team including Hong Kong partners Nicholas Norris, Derek Poon and Daniel Lindsey.

OOIL was founded in 1969 by Chinese businessman Tung Chao Yung, whose elder son Tung Chee-hwa inherited the business before becoming the first chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 1997, following the handover of the city’s sovereignty from the UK to China. The former chief executive’s brother, Tung Chee-chen, now runs the company with two more members of the Tung family on its board.

The deal will make COSCO – currently the world’s fourth largest container-shipping company – the third largest globally. The company is the result of a previous $20bn merger and restructuring of two state-owned shipping giants – China Shipping Group and China Ocean Shipping Group, or COSCO Group.

Paul Hastings also acted for COSCO on the $20bn (£15.5bn) restructuring deal last year.