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Graeme Preston

Managing Partner, Asia
Partner Regional Managing Partner

Graeme leads the firm's Asia practice. A cross-border M&A specialist, he regularly advises on the highest profile international transactions for global and Japanese clients.

Based in Japan for nearly 15 years, Graeme is an M&A specialist with significant experience advising Japanese and international corporates on cross-border transactions. 

He advises on M&A, divestments, joint ventures, and strategic alliances in Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa, India and a number of other emerging markets.

Graeme is particularly known for his expertise on technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) M&A, licensing, data privacy and information governance, transfer agreements, outsourcing, and commercial and regulatory advice. 

He provides clients with global experience and unique insights, having practiced in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and London. 

In addition to TMT, Graeme is sought after for his M&A experience in pharmaceuticals, healthcare and manufacturing.


Graeme has been recognised by Legal 500 as the leading individual (foreign lawyers) for TMT in Japan since 2016. Chambers Global 2023 said that "he understands Japanese business culture and Japanese companies very well, and is a very commercially minded lawyer who is very dedicated to his clients". 


Graeme holds a master's degree in Modern History from the University of Oxford and a postgraduate diploma in law with distinction from Nottingham Law School.  

He joined then Herbert Smith in 2000 as a trainee and was admitted in England & Wales in 2002. 

Graeme is licensed to advise upon English law in Japan as a Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi.

Experience & expertise

Selected matters

  • SoftBank Group Corp. on numerous investments including its investments in GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd., and its investments in Indonesian e-commerce marketplace PT Tokopedia
  • Mitsui & Co., Ltd. on its acquisition of an interest in healthcare provider International Columbia U.S. LLC
  • Marubeni Corporation on its Investment into Vertex Master Fund III (VMF3), a Fund of Funds managed by Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd
  • assisting a Japanese Pharmaceutical company with negotiating the terms of the collaboration agreement and investment in a British biotechnology company for development and commercialisation of products in Japan and Europe 
  • Bridgestone Corporation on the acquisition of a tyre monitoring system from Transense Technologies, and on the acquisition of Otraco, a specialist in off-the-road tire management 
  • ITOCHU Corporation on its joint venture arrangements with the Paul Smith group 
  • Sumitomo Corporation on its acquisition of a controlling interest in a UK electric vehicles start-up.