William Chua is a corporate partner based in Hong Kong. Mr. Chua is a broad-gauged transactional lawyer with deep experience in private equity and strategic M&A, finance and capital markets. He also has substantial experience counselling on corporate governance matters, including advising, structuring and implementing insider trading programs, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance procedures and board crisis management response plans, as well as designing and implementing due diligence programs under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and laws and regulations relating to economic sanctions. Mr. Chua leads Debevoise’s private equity investment, buyout and M&A practices in Asia.
Mr. Chua has advised on public and private M&A deals throughout Asia, including leveraged buyouts, such as the Focus Media LBO, and public company acquisitions, such as the Yue Xiu Enterprises-Chong Hing Bank transaction. His experience spans private equity and strategic deals and includes takeovers, buyouts, “going private” transactions, asset purchases, business combinations, divestitures, “carve-outs” and spin-offs. He also has a significant finance and capital markets practice, including debt and borrower-focused acquisition and leveraged finance, and IPOs.
Mr. Chua has significant experience in transactions involving financial institutions, including banks, insurance companies, asset managers and broker-dealers. In recent years, these matters have spanned acquisitions and other control transactions, securities offerings, strategic investments, financing transactions, asset sales and other divestitures as well as regulatory matters.
The major legal directories recognise Mr. Chua as one of the leading lawyers in the region, with Chambers Asia-Pacific (2022) and Chambers Global (2022) ranking him for M&A work. Chambers Global (2022) also recommends Mr. Chua for M&A in India, and in Chambers Asia-Pacific (2022), he is further recommended for private equity. The guides state that he is “a big talent and a very careful lawyer” and that he has a “strong M&A skill set,” “good interpersonal skills, and he’s always looking out for the client.” The guides have also stated that “he is very hands-on, meticulous and very thoughtful,” and “he offers a wealth of expertise on corporate transactions, spanning from private equity and acquisitions to going-privates and divestitures.” According to clients, he is “one of the most diligent US lawyers in town,” and “has substantial experience of handling PRC-related deals.” Mr. Chua is recommended by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2023) for M&A, Private Equity and for his India practice. The guide, which has described him as “proactive and responsive,” has also noted that he is a “go-to partner for all matters in Asia-Pacific.” IFLR1000 (2022) recommends Mr. Chua for Equity Capital Markets and M&A, and he is also recommended by Expert Guides for Capital Markets.
Mr. Chua has worked on some of the largest and most cutting-edge cross-border transactions, including: the largest global IPO ever (Alibaba Group); the largest LBO of a U.S.-listed Chinese company (Focus Media); the first takeover in the PRC Internet sector (Sohu-ChinaRen); the largest Hong Kong IPO in history and the largest IPO in the insurance sector (AIA); the largest Asian corporate bonds (Alibaba Group; Hutchison Whampoa); the first hostile takeover attempt in the PRC Internet sector (Shanda Interactive-Sina); the first control transaction involving a publicly listed company in Hong Kong using a partial offer structure under the Hong Kong Takeovers Code (Yue Xiu Enterprises-Chong Hing Bank); and the first successfully completed spin-off by a Nasdaq-listed company via a listing in Hong Kong (CHNR).
Mr. Chua is actively involved in various bar associations, including having served as an officer of the International Bar Association’s Corporate and M&A Law Committee, as Vice Chair of the Mergers & Acquisitions Subcommittee and as an officer of the IBA’s Securities Law Committee. He is also serving on the Asia Advisory Council of The Lawrenceville School and is a sub-committee member of the Diocesan Boys' School Foundation.
Mr. Chua joined Debevoise in 2015. He was previously a partner for over a decade at a leading Wall Street law firm, where at various times he was resident in the New York, Beijing and Hong Kong offices. A Hong Kong native, Mr. Chua began his career in New York and has practised in Asia for over 15 years.
Mr. Chua graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in 1991, and from Harvard Law School with a J.D. in 1994. He is admitted to the bar in New York and Hong Kong, and speaks Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese.