Morrison Foerster secures private equity real estate partner in Singapore from White & Case

Tabitha Saw brings extensive private equity real estate and data centre transactions experience across Asia
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Top 40 US law firm Morrison Foerster (MoFo) has bolstered its private equity bench in Singapore with a partner hire from White & Case — its second partner-level lateral in the city state this year.

Tabitha Saw has joined MoFo’s global private equity real estate (PERE) group after more than nine years at White & Case, bringing with her a track record advising on data centre transactions which the West Coast US firms says is a key specialism of its Asia team.

Her arrival also follows that of private equity and M&A partner Steven Tran, who joined in Singapore last month from the Hong Kong office of Mayer Brown, shortly before energy and infrastructure deals specialist Per Lindberg was made partner in the office as part of an 18-strong global round.

Saw represents investment managers, institutional investors and owner operators in complex, high-value real estate and data centre transactions and has advised on the establishment of capital raising platforms across Asia-Pacific. She has significant experience in hyperscale leasing and co-location arrangements, greenfield and brownfield acquisitions and operational arrangements.

“Tabitha is a highly regarded private equity real estate lawyer in the region, whose practice in logistics and data centres aligns with our existing strengths in these areas,” said Eric Piesner, Morrison Foerster’s Asia managing partner.

“Data centres in particular are an increasingly important asset class for our PERE clients. Since 2019, our Asia offices have advised on more than 50 data centre transactions, and we anticipate our clients will remain very active in this sector. Tabitha’s extensive data centre credentials, combined with her experience in the logistics/industrial real estate space and cross-border practice, aligns closely with our clients’ needs.”

Saw’s work highlights include advising ESR, a global asset manager in industrial real estate, on the development of a US$2.15bn multi-phase data centre campus in Osaka and FLOW Digital Infrastructure on the establishment of its joint venture platform with AyalaLand Logistics to develop carrier-neutral data centres across the Philippines.

Saw, who has joined MoFo's Singapore office as its tenth partner, said the firm "has a stellar PERE practice and a market-leading reputation across Asia, including in Japan, which is a key market for my clients.”

At MoFo Saw will work as part of a ten-strong team of lawyers whose practices cover real estate and private equity investments and buyouts, including Piesner and Singapore managing partner Shrin Tang.

Tang said: “We’re delighted to continue 2023 on a high note by welcoming Tabitha to the Singapore office and our corporate group, hot on the heels of Steve Tran’s arrival. She is a great strategic and personal fit for the firm.”

US rival Goodwin Procter moved to build its private equity offering in Singapore recently, relocating private investment funds partner Greg Barclay from its other Asia base in Hong Kong alongside private equity partner Abhishek Krishnan and a team of counsel and associates to launch an office there last October. 

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