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This article, like many others, was first published exclusively for long-term supporters, 4300 hours before everyone else got to read it.

InLegal 50: Foreign corporate firms in India

Foreign firms’ corporate India mandates in 2018-19
Foreign firms’ corporate India mandates in 2018-19

Foreign law firms too have had a bumper year in India, with the vast majority of public instructions linked to their relationships with their marquee private equity clients, which were very hot on India this year. We have ranked the top 13 firms that had at least two India mandates with deal values attached, signifying transactions with a significant India element.

Gunderson Dettmer and Goodwin Procter primarily profited from their ties to huge global funds that were bullish on India, bagging six and four India mandates respectively. Goodwin, advised Naspers and Xiaomi on their India deals, while Gunderson advised DST Global on its many India forays.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton was most active for funds Brookfield (on its $576m Leela Venture hotels buy) and Temasek (on the $2.1bn Schneider buy of an L&T unit), but its ties to Arysta LifeScience ensured it the seller mandate on UPL’s $4.2bn acquisition.

For Simpson Thacher & Bartlett its three India mandates were for giant funds Blackstone and KKR on Indian mega deals.

Kirkland & Ellis bagged the Apax mandate on a $200m India investment, Blackstone’s brief on a $732m stake sale in Indiabulls, and represented the target Alight, which Wipro bought for $117m.

Slaughter and May topped the values table with $18bn off the back of its strong UK corporate multinational relationships: Slaughters clients GSK and Vodafone had massive deals in India (buying HUL’s Horlicks and selling telecoms towers to Bharti Airtel respectively).

Chinese firm Han Kun Law Offices saw huge India action off the back of its client Meituan-Dianping, which co-invested in $1bn and $210m rounds in the Swiggy food delivery service.

Latham & Watkins had two major India mandates, one of which was for a part-Indian company: it acted for Fractal Analytics, which took $200m from Apax, and its relationship with Tencent made it part of Swiggy’s $1bn funding round.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was the highest ranked foreign firm on the list with two major outbound mandates for India clients, including bagging Bharti Airtel’s $1.25bn Africa fundraising from private equity players and Shree Cement’s UAE acquisition of Union Cement for around $375m. Partner Arun Balasubramanian in Singapore led for the former, UAE-based Pervez Akhtar for the latter.

Like Freshfields, Baker & McKenzie too had two mandates for Indian corporates: Hindustan Unilever briefed the firm on its $3.8bn buy of GSK India’s Horlicks business, while its German and Austrian offices represented Hyderabad-based building materials company HIL, which bought Parador in Germany for $84m.

Clifford Chance was most active in India for Carlyle and other funds, including on the fund’s $413m Series F investment in Delhivery.

Wong Partnership won a spot on the league table with an instruction for Asia Healthcare from Singapore in its $50m Temasek fundraise, as well as a $530m mandate for KKR, which invested in Ramky Enviro Engineers.

Last but not least, Stephenson Harwood Dubai partner Diwakar Agarwal acted for Indian travel giant Cleartrip on its outbound $60m buy of Saudi travel start-up Flyin, and one deal for Helix Investments, which bought into Indian cybersecurity company Network Intelligence for $4.8m.

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