12:44, November 20 337 0

2017-11-20 12:44:08
Four firms on call as Alibaba takes $2.9bn stake in Sun Art

Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Slaughter and May have all won roles in Alibaba’s $2.9bn acquisition of a stake in Chinese retail group Sun Art.

Slaughter and May, one of Alibaba’s long-standing advisers, has acted for the Chinese e-commerce giant in its acquisition of approximately 36.2 per cent of stake in Hong Kong-listed Sun Art Retail Group.

Hong Kong based corporate partner Benita Yu led the team  in the $2.9bn transaction alongside partners Clara Choi and Charlton Tse and associates Eric Fung, Vincent Chan and Jiayi Li.

Fangda Partners, Alibaba’s main PRC legal adviser, provided the group with PRC legal advice in the acquisition.

Herbert Smith Freehills represented Sun Art, one of the main hypermarket operators in China with 14.6 per cent market share by retail sales value. The firm is the group’s main external adviser since 2012, according to Sun Art’s annual reports.

Sun Art is a joint venture between French group Auchan Retail and Taiwan based Ruentex Group. Alibaba acquired the shares from Ruentex Group, which was advised by Clifford Chance.

Auchan, which also increased its share in Sun Art through the transaction, was represented by Skadden.

Through the acquisition, Alibaba has formed a new strategic alliance with Auchan and Ruentex. It is also the latest deal under Alibaba’s “new retail” strategy to leverage its internet-based approach and new technology, while working closely with retail partners to grow both online and offline retail businesses in China.

Earlier this year, it bought domestic department store Intime Retail for $2.6bn in a take private deal.