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Freshfields advises Hong Leong on its bid to privatise Hong Kong-listed Guoco Group Limited

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer ('Freshfields') has advised GuoLine Overseas Limited (‘GuoLine’), a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Hong Leong Company (Malaysia) Berhad (‘Hong Leong’), on its proposed privatisation of Hong Kong-listed Guoco Group Limited (‘Guoco’). The offer price is approximately HK$12.5bn (US$1.6bn).

If approved by Guoco’s shareholders, the scheme of arrangement would involve the payment by Guoco of a special dividend (by way of a distribution in-specie) of up to 291,117,141 ordinary shares in Hong Leong Financial Group Berhad (‘HLFG’), in which Guoco holds a 25.37 per cent stake, to certain of Guoco’s shareholders. GuoLine would then own 100 per cent of Guoco, which would apply to withdraw the listing of its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Guoco is an investment holding and investment management company with subsidiaries and investment activities in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and the United Kingdom. Hong Leong is an investment holding company, with subsidiaries engaged in the businesses of financial services, manufacturing and distribution, property development and investment, hospitality and leisure. GuoLine is an investment holding company incorporated in Bermuda and, as at the date of the announcement, it held approximately 71.88 per cent of Guoco’s shares.
The Freshfields team advising on the deal was led by partner and global co-head of M&A Robert Ashworth and partners Edward Freeman and Richard Blair. Partners Daniel French and Richard Perks acted on the finance side of the deal.


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