20 Sep 2021

Tilleke & Gibbins hires GC of Myanmar-focused business syndicate to bolster China capabilities

Derrick Khoo leaves role at Marga Group to co-head Bangkok-based firm’s China desk

Derrick Khoo Image courtesy of Tilleke & Gibbins

Leading Thai firm Tilleke & Gibbins has hired Marga Group general counsel Derrick Khoo as its new China desk co-head as it targets high-growth investors in Southeast Asia.

Khoo, who previously worked for international law firms including Linklaters and Baker McKenzie, oversaw all legal and regulatory matters in Hong Kong, Singapore and Myanmar for Marga Group, a Myanmar-focused business syndicate which invests primarily in real estate and telecommunications.

He is joining Tilleke & Gibbins' 66-strong regional corporate/M&A team as a partner. A fluent Mandarin speaker, Khoo is tri-qualified in England and Wales, Hong Kong and Singapore and is expected to serve as a key liaison with the firm’s China-based clients from its Bangkok headquarters. An experienced cross-border transactions lawyer, Khoo's areas of focus include M&A, pre-IPO investments, corporate real estate, foreign direct investments and JVs.

Khoo has joined Tilleke’s more than 200 lawyers and consultants working across Southeast Asia. The firm advises domestic and international corporate clients from a range of sectors on matters relating to commercial transactions and M&A, dispute resolution and litigation and intellectual property.

Tilleke co-managing partner Tiziana Sucharitkul said Khoo’s addition “aligns well with the firm’s ambitions for rapid growth in the M&A and transactions space to better serve those high-growth investors who are driving Southeast Asia’s recovery from the Covid economic downturn.”

She added that his experience with cross-border deals from both the in-house and private practice perspectives enabled him “to provide clients with very practical, commercially-minded solutions to their needs. Additonally, his fluency in English and Chinese is advantageous as the flow of FDI into our jurisdictions diversifies”.

Khoo told GLP he was impressed by Tilleke’s combination of breadth of service and quality.

“It’s often the case that a firm can provide one or the other, but it’s rare to find a firm in this region that can consistently deliver both,” he added. “When you’re working in jurisdictions that can sometimes be unpredictable – especially if you’re investing in multiple diverse industries – that’s incredibly valuable, and after working on major deals varying from growth equity investments, real estate, food and beverage JVs to telecoms transactions, Tilleke & Gibbins just seemed like a natural fit for my practice.”

Before joining Marga Group, Khoo spent a decade in private practice as a corporate finance and M&A lawyer, including stints at Baker McKenzie in Hong Kong, Linklaters in Shanghai and Dewey & LeBoeuf in Dubai. His client base has included sovereign wealth funds, private equity funds, investment banks, state-owned enterprises and Fortune 500 corporations.

Tilleke is not the only law firm looking to boost its China-facing offering, with Taylor Wessing announcing in June it was set to expand its global footprint in the country with the launch of a specialist intellectual property and trademark business. Earlier in the year K&L Gates also bolstered its global trademark offering by establishing its own Chinese trademark agency, while last December listed UK law firm Ince announced it had entered into a ‘strategic cooperation’ agreement with 2,000-lawyer strong Chinese practice W&H Law Firm.


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