26 July 2017

King & Wood Mallesons signals commitment to Europe with two significant lateral partner hires in Frankfurt

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is expanding its European platform to further enhance its cross-border capability with the addition of corporate and finance partners, Hui Zhao and Daniel Ehret who will both join the Frankfurt office on 1 October 2017.

Consistent with KWM’s global and German strategic priorities, Hui Zhao and Daniel Ehret bring significant additional corporate finance expertise including for clients involved in Sino-German investments. They will complement the currently four partner-strong Frankfurt team of Christian Cornett, Rudolf Haas, Rüdiger Knopf and Sandra Link, who together re-formed the KWM firm in Germany earlier this year with the establishment of KWM Europe Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH. While the German team has already grown over the last months, e.g. by the joining of corporate counsel Tilmann Becker, Hui Zhao and Daniel Ehret are the first of a group of partners to join.

Based in Frankfurt, Hui Zhao is a corporate lawyer specialising in Chinese M&A in Germany. Hui Zhao has significant experience advising a large number of Chinese clients on their investments in Germany, and German clients on their investments into China. Hui Zhao joins from leading German law firm Noerr where he worked as an Associated Partner to develop Noerr’s China practice over the last decade. Before joining Noerr, Hui Zhao worked with then leading German firm Haarmann Hemmelrath in Frankfurt and Shanghai. As a native Chinese speaker and a qualified German lawyer, Hui Zhao Is a strong addition to the KWM team and will further enhance KWM’s capability to advise on Sino-German deals on the ground in Germany.

Daniel Ehret is a finance and restructuring specialist who joins KWM from Latham & Watkins. He has more than 10 years’ experience in advising banks and debt funds as lenders and companies as borrowers on national and cross-border acquisition financing transactions and general corporate lending. In addition, Daniel Ehret represents investors, lenders and other creditors as well as distressed companies on restructurings (e.g., in connection with rescue financings, distressed M&A, insolvency plans and debt-to-equity-swaps).

Wang Junfeng, Global Chairman of KWM, said: "We are fortunate to have retained a strong foundation in Frankfurt with a quality team of lawyers who share our global vision. The arrival of Hui Zhao and Daniel Ehret further enhance our on-the-ground offering and signal our long-term commitment to the German market and our intention to invest in smart growth aligned to the needs of local and international clients."

Sue Kench, Global Managing Partner of KWM, said: "Our vision is to be the leading global law firm for Asia. The addition of Hui Zhao and Daniel Ehret to help spearhead the growth of our German practice in Europe underpins our vision and represents a significant strategic step forward. The areas of corporate M&A (particularly for our Chinese clients), banking and restructuring are core areas of focus and strength globally and we look forward to growing our client base with these additional capabilities."

Xu Ping, Senior M&A partner in KWM’s Beijing office with significant experience in Sino-German M&A transactions, added from a Chinese perspective: "We are delighted that Hui Zhao and Daniel Ehret will join our German team. Chinese clients regularly require a senior Chinese speaking lawyer as a direct point of contact during a transaction and with Hui Zhao, we can now offer such a service on the ground in Germany. As financing has become more prevalent and sophisticated, with Daniel we are able to meet these needs of our clients."

Rudolf Haas, partner in the Frankfurt office, states: "We have known Hui Zhao and Daniel Ehret for years and feel privileged to welcome such experienced lawyers to complete our offering in Germany. Our focus on our proven core-strengths, namely private equity, corporate finance transactions and Chinese investments, has convinced both joiners to leave established structures in order to join our team."

Christian Cornett,  partner in the Frankfurt office, added: "We warmly welcome Hui Zhao and Daniel Ehret to our Frankfurt team. Hui’s market standing in the Sino-German community will further improve KWM’s capability to advise on Sino-German deals in Germany. And Daniel will help us to offer an even more comprehensive banking and finance capability in Germany. Thanks to our loyal client base, our business and team have grown considerably and we are confident that there is more to come."

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