HONG KONG (LAWFUEL) – As one of its Asia “Private Equity Deal of the Year” finalists, the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) shortlisted a US$430 million investment by Japan’s Softbank Corp. in Haynes and Boone-advised Oak Pacific Interactive, the Beijing-based leading provider of Web 2.0 communities in China.
Haynes and Boone acted as lead counsel to Oak Pacific Interactive in April 2008, when Softbank purchased its strategic minority stake. The investment in Oak Pacific Interactive accounted for more than 30 percent of the deal volume for all China venture capital financings in the second quarter of 2008.
At the eleventh annual IFLR Awards staged in Hong Kong’s Island Shangri-La Hotel, another one of the four shortlisted deals took top honors. Nonetheless, Dallas partner Wilson Chu, leader of the Haynes and Boone team, said it was gratifying to be included in such a prestigious group of finalists.
“We faced some tough competition, including the largest private equity deal ever done in China,” Mr. Chu said. “Our firm congratulates the winning parties, and remains extremely proud of the obstacles overcome to seal the landmark Softbank-Oak Pacific deal in a very challenging economic environment. This is like the Academy Awards. We’re honored to be recognized, we congratulate our fellow nominees, but we still wish we were taking Oscar home.”
The proceeds from Softbank’s investment are being used to fuel the market leadership of Oak Pacific Interactive’s Xiaonei.com, China’s largest social-networking site. Xiaonei.com is commonly known as the “China’s Facebook.” As part of the investment, Softbank President Masayoshi Son joined Oak Pacific Interactive’s Board of Directors.
With the teaming of legendary tech investor, Softbank’s Masayoshi Son, and Oak Pacific Interactive’s Founder and Chairman, Joe Chen, this deal signaled a new vanguard for China’s burgeoning social networking space.
Chen is the recognized early pioneer in that arena, having founded www.ChinaRen.com and later successfully selling it to Sina.com. Son-san is the backer and strategist behind many of the world’s most recognized Internet companies, including Yahoo! and Alibaba.
More important than Softbank’s commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars is the personal commitment of Son-san to sit on Oak Pacific Interactive’s Board of Directors. This potent cocktail of huge dollars plus proven, game-changing collaboration plus the world’s largest internet community, China, promises innovation that is sure to fundamentally change the landscape for how people socialize and do business around the world.
The annual IFLR awards are based on detailed research from IFLR’s team of journalists in consultation with private practice lawyers, in-house counsel and financing specialists at investment banks around the world.
Haynes and Boone, LLP is an international corporate law firm with offices in Texas, New York, California, Washington, D.C., Mexico City and Moscow, providing a full spectrum of legal services. With almost 550 attorneys, Haynes and Boone is ranked among the largest law firms in the nation by The National Law Journal. The firm has been recognized as one of the “Best Corporate Law Firms in America” (Corporate Board Member Magazine, 2001-2008), as one of “The Best 20 Law Firms to Work For” (Vault.com, 2008), and as a Top 100 law firm for both diversity (MultiCultural Law Magazine, 2009) and women (Women 3.0, 2008