Tim Gardner is a partner in the Firm’s Corporate department and the Managing Partner of the Hong Kong office. Mr. Gardner focuses exclusively on private equity and mergers & acquisitions. He advises clients on a wide variety of cross-border transactions in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly private equity sponsors on investments across a range of industries, including consumer, technology, healthcare, education, industrials and financial services. He has extensive experience in private and public acquisitions, leveraged and management buyouts, going private transactions, recapitalizations, joint ventures, PIPEs and other financings, minority investments and divestitures.
Mr. Gardner has been consistently recognized as a leading transactional lawyer by Chambers and Legal 500 and is recognized as a “highly regarded” lawyer for Private Equity and Corporate/M&A by IFLR1000. Legal 500 describes Mr. Gardner as “a great lawyer with a genuine private equity pedigree, who is regularly at the forefront of the most significant mandates.” Chambers noted that Mr. Gardner “is praised by market sources for demonstrating impressive skills while dealing with clients on complex private equity deals.” IFLR1000 has noted that Mr. Gardner is “extremely commercial while maintaining high technical capabilities. He has a good feel for the deal dynamics and parties involved.”
Mr. Gardner has represented many leading private equity and corporate clients including Advent International, Alibaba Group, Baring Private Equity Asia, Canadian Solar, FountainVest Partners, Hillhouse Capital, MBK Partners, Oaktree Capital, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, PAG, Primavera Capital, Providence Equity Partners, and TPG Growth and TPG Capital, among others.
Selected transactions on which Mr. Gardner has advised include:
- TPG in multiple matters, including the acquisition by TPG Capital Asia, TPG Growth and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan of up to 35% of Dream Cruises Holding Limited, a premium brand, Asian-sourced passenger cruise line with an enterprise value based on the transaction of $3.3 billion, from Genting Hong Kong Limited, the largest cruise operator in the Asia Pacific region
- MBK Partners in multiple matters, including (1) as part of a consortium with Mr. Ray Zhang, The Crawford Group (parent company of the Enterprise, National and Alamo brands), Ctrip Investment Holdings and Ocean Link Partners, in the consortium's $1.75 billion (including debt) take-private of eHi Car Services Ltd., the second largest car rental company in China. The transaction was awarded M&A Deal of the Year at The Macallan Asian Legal Business Hong Kong Law Awards 2019, (2) the acquisition of a controlling stake in Wendu Education Group, the largest provider of National Graduate Entrance Examination tutoring services in China and (3) the acquisition of a controlling stake in Siyanli, the fifth largest high-end beauty spa and medical beauty service provider in China
- Advent International in the acquisition of a controlling interest in BioDuro, a global life sciences contract research and development organization (CRO) with operations in San Diego, Beijing and Shanghai
- The Rohatyn Group in the sale of Franchise Services Asia, the holding company for BHC Group, a leading Korean franchise restaurant chain with a menu centered on fried chicken, to a consortium including MBK Partners Special Situations and Hyun Jong Park, the CEO of BHC
- Baring Private Equity Asia and its portfolio companies in multiple matters, including (1) the acquisition of Radius Group, a provider of international corporate expansion and administration services, from HG Pooled Management Ltd., (2) the $300 million acquisition by Baring and CITIC Capital of Wall Street English from Pearson, (3) the leveraged buyout of HCP Packaging, a designer and manufacturer of primary packaging containers for the cosmetics, skincare and fragrance industries, from TPG Capital, (4) the S$450 million leveraged buyout of Interplex Holdings Ltd., a global supplier of mechanical and electro-mechanical components listed in Singapore and (5) the acquisition of WCL Group Ltd, an operator of British schools in North America, the Middle East and Europe
- Alibaba Group in multiple matters, including (1) the $2 billion acquisition of Kaola, a Chinese cross-border e-commerce platform, from NASDAQ-listed gaming giant, NetEase, (2) the acquisition of Daraz, an online marketplace operating in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and a portfolio company of Rocket Internet, the German internet incubator, (3) the primary and secondary purchase of shares in Bilibili, Inc., a leading online entertainment company in China, (4) the $1 billion merger of 58 Suyun, the freight business unit of China’s largest online marketplace, 58 Home Group, and Hong Kong freight online platform GoGoVan, (5) a $300 million Series A equity financing round for 58 Daojia Inc., a subsidiary of 58.com, alongside KKR and Ping An Group and (6) the acquisition of Ejoy Technology, a developer and operator of an online gaming platform
- Oaktree Capital in connection with the merger of Fitness First Asia, an owner and operator of a chain of fitness clubs across Asia, with Celebrity Fitness (a portfolio company of Navis Capital Partners), creating one of the largest fitness club networks in Asia. The transaction was awarded M&A Deal of the Year at the Asian Legal Business Southeast Asia Law Awards 2018
- Hillhouse Capital in multiple matters, including (1) a $101 million PIPE investment in China Biologic Products, a top five plasma producer in China and (2) as part of a consortium that also included FountainVest Partners and SEEK Ltd., an Australian public company, in the consortium’s $1 billion take-private of Zhaopin Limited, an operator of an online recruitment platform in China
- Special Committees of the Boards of Directors of Canadian Solar Inc., a Nasdaq-listed solar power company, and Sinovac Biotech, a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in China, in connection with the evaluation of take-private proposals submitted by their Chairmen
- Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board in multiple matters, including the acquisition of a minority interest in Jasper Infotech, which operates Indian online shopping site Snapdeal
- Boyu Capital, as a member of a consortium including Ally Bridge Group Capital Partners and Dr. Ge Li, chairman and CEO of WuXi PharmaTech, a global contract R&D services provider serving the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, in the consortium's $3.3 billion take-private of WuXi PharmaTech
- FountainVest Partners in the leveraged buyout of Michigan-based Key Safety Systems, the fourth largest supplier of passive safety systems to the auto industry. The transaction was FountainVest’s first acquisition outside of Asia
- Primavera Capital in multiple matters, including (1) as part of a consortium with FountainVest Partners and The Carlyle Group in the proposed $1.9 billion privatization of Shanda Games Ltd., a leading online game developer, operator and publisher in China, (2) the privatization of Chemspec International Ltd., a specialty chemicals company operating in China and (3) with Khazanah Nasional Berhad, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, the purchase of $400 million of preferred stock in Alibaba, in connection with the financing of Alibaba’s share repurchase from Yahoo!
- The Carlyle Group in connection with the acquisition by 58.com of a strategic interest in Falcon View Technology Limited, the holding company of the PRC entities operating Ganji.com, a major online local services marketplace platform in China