Baker McKenzie continues the rapid growth of its Hong Kong transactional practice with the hire of senior capital markets specialist Thomas Tarala as partner. Thomas brings a wealth of transactional experience to the Firm and will be advising clients on public offerings, private placements of debt and equity securities, secondary offerings, and securitization. This latest hire builds on the recent appointment of Capital Markets partner Victoria Lloyd in July 2021 and virtual asset specialist Joy Lam in January 2022.

Thomas has broad experience in both equity capital markets (ECM) and debt capital markets (DCM) transactions, M&A (including leveraged acquisitions and disposals of private and public companies), funds formation, loans, corporate restructurings, as well as litigation and regulatory issues. As a senior practitioner with over 25 years of experience, he has worked with investment banks, intermediaries and major corporations in Hong Kong SAR, Mainland China, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States, and he is well-versed in SEC-registered offerings and offerings pursuant to Regulation S and Rule 144A.

Thomas joins the Firm from HNA Group (International) Company, where he served as general counsel in the last five years and advised on a broad spectrum of business-related legal issues. He has also worked at Hogan Lovells in London and Hong Kong and is the former head of the US Securities Practice in Hong Kong. Thomas is admitted to practice as a US attorney in New York, Connecticut and Florida, and as a solicitor in England and Wales and Hong Kong.

Ashok Lalwani, Asia Pacific head of Baker McKenzie's International Capital Markets Practice, said: "Companies are increasingly looking beyond their home jurisdictions to raise capital, and Asia is fast becoming the center of gravity for IPO activities. Recent introduction of SPAC listing regimes in Hong Kong and Singapore along with more Chinese companies going to Hong Kong for their homecoming listings is likely to help keep the Asia IPO markets buoyant. On the corporate debt front, the bond market is likely to stay on its upward trajectory as companies seek to secure cheap financing ahead of expected rate rises. Amid global efforts to combat climate change, many Asia-Pacific companies are fast-tracking their ESG plans in response to increased investor demand and also the need to meet their decarbonization targets, adding further impetus to an already growing ESG bond market in Asia. All of these factors are driving up demand for legal services related to ECM and DCM."

Ashok continued: "The strong ECM and DCM experience and track record that Thomas brings will further enhance our broad-based capital service capabilities and strengthen our compelling offering of a one-stop shop covering both local and US securities laws, which businesses are increasingly looking for. We are delighted to be welcoming Thomas to the Firm."

Meanwhile, Steven Sieker, managing partner of Baker McKenzie in Hong Kong SAR, said: "We are thrilled that Thomas is joining us. His arrival is further evidence of our commitment to grow our transactional capabilities in Hong Kong, following on from other recent strategic hires. The experience that Thomas brings not only complements well that of our existing team, but more importantly, his in-house experience will give us unique insights into what today's legal service buyers are looking for in their legal advisors."

For his part, Thomas said: "I am delighted to be part of the continued growth of Baker McKenzie's transactional team. The growth objectives and entrepreneurship of the practice are closely aligned with my ambitions. I look forward to contributing to the future growth of the Firm and collaborating with my colleagues to bring our full-service offering to clients."

Thomas's appointment follows a number of recent significant lateral appointments in keeping with the Firm’s strategy to grow its transactional practice in key global money and business centers, including most recently the onboarding of virtual asset specialist Joy Lam, Capital Markets Partner Victoria Lloyd, Private Equity Partner Derek Poon, leveraged finance Partner Kenneth Ching and media and entertainment lawyer Lex Kuo in Hong Kong; M&A Principal Kay Moon in Singapore; M&A Partner Addy Herg in Kuala Lumpur and Corporate Partner Lance Sacks in Sydney.

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