HSF acts as ‘unicorn’ grabs largest tech financing in Southeast Asia

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Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is yet again advising Japan’s Softbank as it invests along with China’s Didi Chuxing in Southeast Asia’s Grab.

The joint lead investors are expected to pump up to US$2bn into the transportation and payments “unicorn,” while other investors are expected to pony up an additional US$500m to complete the new equity funding round, making it the largest tech financing in Southeast Asia.

HSF fielded a multi-practice cross-border team for the deal, with Mark Robinson, the firm’s technology, media, and telecoms (TMT) Asia head, leading the group. Robinson worked with Graeme Preston, corporate partner, Tokyo; Gary Wan, of counsel, Prolegis, HSF’s formal law alliance firm in Singapore; and Sakurayuki, partner, Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung, HSF’s affiliate firm in Indonesia.

HSF partner Kyriakos Fountoukakos and Asia head of competition Mark Jephcott provided competition advice.

“Asia is the battlefront of tech funding right now. Major players from North Asia are vying for a piece of the fastest growing apps and platforms, and Southeast Asian companies, such as Grab, are top of their list,” Robinson said.

Softbank is a long-time client of HSF. The top firm has helped the Japanese TMT behemoth invest in multiple funding rounds for Grab, Indian transport company OlaCabs, and Indonesian online marketplace Tokopedia. HSF has also acted for Softbank on investments in Trikomsel, a listed Indonesian phone distribution company.


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