04 Apr 2022

Linklaters bolsters corporate practice with Ashurst M&A lead in Tokyo

Tracy Whiriskey comes aboard following number of recent laterals to Links’ wider M&A practice as deals market booms

Headshot of Tracy Whiriskey

Tracy Whiriskey Image courtesy of Linklaters

UK Magic Circle firm Linklaters has bolstered its corporate offering in Japan with the hire of Ashurst’s Tokyo M&A and Asia insurance sector lead. 

Tracy Whiriskey has been based in Tokyo for almost 20 years and prior to joining Ashurst as a partner in 2016 spent a little more than a decade at Clifford Chance, where she also worked in the firm’s Hong Kong office. 

She has become the ninth partner in Linklaters’ Tokyo office, which has more than 40 lawyers in total, amid a booming global deals market. M&A activity smashed through the $5tr barrier for the first time on record last year, according to data from Refinitiv, as companies rushed to make deals while interest rates remained low.

Linklaters said Whiriskey has worked extensively with clients in sectors including energy transition, the digital economy and infrastructure funds on their joint venture transactions and M&A deals. Her work in the insurance sector, meanwhile, has seen her advise clients on complex transactions such as portfolio transfers, risk transfer arrangements and capital raisings as well as M&A.  

Her deals experience includes leading the team that advised Nippon Life Insurance Company on the acquisition of 80% of the outstanding shares of MLC, a subsidiary of National Australia Bank, to the value of AU$2.4bn in 2016 and co-leading the team that advised German winemaker and distributor Pieroth Wein on the sale of its Japanese subsidiary, Pieroth Japan, to Japanese private equity firm Nippon Investment firm last June for an undisclosed amount. 

Peter Frost, Linklaters’ Japan managing partner, said Whiriskey’s experience across “a wide range of sectors” would help the firm to support Japanese corporates and foreign companies on their strategic outbound and inbound investments, with Linklaters’ Asia head of corporate, Sophie Mathur, adding that the hire would also bolster the firm’s offering across the wider region. 

The move follows Linklaters making a number of partner hires to its M&A practice over the past few months, having added a trio of leveraged finance specialists from Vinson & Elkins in London in March that included the US firm’s London head of finance and M&A-capital markets, Noel Hughes. 

The hires followed the loss of leveraged finance partners Annette Kurdian and Robert Burt to Allen & Overy in London last year, in a rare instance of lateral hires between Magic Circle firms.

Last December Linklaters also re-hired its former China practice head Betty Yap, who specialises in handling cross-border M&A, strategic investments, joint ventures and foreign direct investments involving China, from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison in Hong Kong. 

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