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Simpson Thacher, Davis Polk and Bär & Karrer win mandates on $43bn ChemChina-Syngenta deal

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Davis Polk & Wardwell, and Swiss firm Bär & Karrer have landed key advisory roles on China National Chemical Corp’s (ChemChina’s) $43bn bid for Swiss seeds and pesticides group Syngenta, in what will be the largest ever acquisition by a Chinese firm.

Simpson Thacher is advising China’s state-owned ChemChina on M&A, acquisition finance and regulatory aspects with a team led by partners Alan Klein, Shaolin Luo, Chris May and Sinead O’Shea, alongside Homburger.

Davis Polk & Wardwell and local Swiss firm Bär & Karrer are acting for Syngenta.

HSBC is arranging the debt financing for the deal, with advice from Linklaters, who is acting with a team led by London banking partner Brian Gray. Clifford Chance is advising ChemChina’s financial adviser China CITIC Bank with a team led by Maggie Lo.

Clifford Chance has acted for ChemChina in the past, advising on its $7.7bn bid to buy Italian tire-maker Pirelli. The deal announced last year, gave Chinese investors a significant foothold in Italy’s manufacturing industry while signalling continued Chinese investment into Europe. Davis Polk and Bär & Karrer previously worked together advising Syngenta in its defence of a takeover proposal by agriculture company Monsanto.

Syngenta said today (3 February) that the agreed offer amounted to $465 a share, plus a special dividend of 5 Swiss francs ($4.91) a share to be paid immediately before the deal’s closing. The company also announced that a ‘future initial public offering is intended’ while the transaction will ‘enable further expansion of Syngenta’s presence in emerging markets and notably in China.’