The Work

April 2, 2010 12:30 PM

Simpson Thacher, Nishimura & Asahi Help Dai-ichi Go Public

Posted by Anthony Lin

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Nishimura & Asahi took leading roles in Dai-ichi Insurance Co.'s $11 billion initial public offering, the largest in the world in the past two years and the largest in Japan in almost a decade.

The stock debuted Thursday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, where it shot up 14 percent on its first day of trading.

Senior partner Masakazu Iwakura headed a team from Nishimura, the largest of Tokyo's "Big Four" corporate law firms, advising Dai-ichi, the second-largest private life insurer in Japan, on the overall transaction. The company had been a mutual insurance company, owned by its policyholders, and successfully completing a series of steps was necessary to transform it into a public company. Nishimura partner Naoko Shimura led this demutualization work, while partners Mitsuhiro Yasuda and Yasutaka Nishikori led work on the offering.

Simpson Thacher advised Dai-ichi on its global offering to international institutional investors. The firm's work on the deal was led by Alan Cannon in Tokyo and Robert Holo in New York.

The lead underwriters in Japan were Nomura Securities, Mizuho Securities, and Merrill Lynch, with Goldman Sachs joining them in the global offering. The underwriters' lead Japanese counsel was Hironori Shibata of Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, another of Tokyo's Big Four. Global counsel was Izumi Akai, cohead of Sullivan & Cromwell's Tokyo office.

The Dai-ichi IPO is the largest in the world since the March 2008 debut of Visa, Inc., which raised $19.7 billion. It is Japan's largest public offering since the $18.4 billion IPO of mobile operator NTT DoCoMo in September 1998.

Cannon notes that the reach of Dai-ichi within the Japanese market also set its IPO apart. The company had over 8 million policyholders, at least a million of whom were eligible to become shareholders.

"On day one, this was the most widely held stock in Japan," he points out.

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