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Herbert Smith Freehills advises Malaysia's Axiata on Cambodian telecoms stake sale to Mitsui

02 June 2017
Deals and cases


Leading global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has advised Malaysia's Axiata Group Bhd on the sale of a 10% stake in its Cambodian mobile subsidiary to Japan's Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Axiata will retain an 82.5% stake in Smart Axiata Co Ltd, Cambodia's leading mobile service provider with over 8 million customers.

Axiata is one of the leading telecommunications groups in Asia with approximately 320 million subscribers in 10 countries, and a longstanding client of the firm.  Herbert Smith Freehills has advised the company on a series of M&A and finance transactions, including the original 2012 merger between Hello Axiata and Latelz that formed today's Smart Mobile.

"It's been an honour to assist Axiata's growth in Cambodia over the years, and this latest strategic transaction will strengthen its expansion plans," said partner Mark Robinson, who led the team advising Axiata.

"The investment suits both companies' strategies," said Mark. "Mitsui – another longstanding client of the firm – has made a series of strategic investments in Southeast Asian tech and telecoms ventures over the past 12 months, using its global networks and technological experience to partner with local companies."

The transaction has completed shortly after formal licence approval from Bar Council Malaysia for the firm to open for business in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur is Herbert Smith Freehills' ninth office in Asia, and the 27th office in its global network.

With the opening of the new office, Herbert Smith Freehills now operates across Southeast Asia from four of the region's most important business centres – Singapore, Jakarta*, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur – handling matters for clients in and across all 10 ASEAN nations.   

The team advising Axiata was led from Singapore, where Mark was assisted by lead associates Victor Chiew and Mia Harrison-Kelf, with additional advice from the corporate, employment, disputes and equity capital markets teams in Singapore. Teams in Hong Kong and London also assisted on competition and corporate aspects of the transaction.

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Sally Greig, Head of Communications, Asia

Hong Kong
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