Chair's Note

Dear WSG Members,

I am profoundly honored to serve as WSG Chair for 2022-2023. As we emerge from the global pandemic, WSG continues to grow as a very strong, innovative and collaborative global network. I look forward to continuing to add value to WSG and its prestigious Membership.

I would like to sincerely thank Stefan Erhag of Delphi for his dedication as Chair and I am grateful for his continued leadership in his role as Chair Emeritus this coming year. I also want to thank the Board of Directors and the Regional Councils for working together with the continued support from corporate headquarters in Houston, along with our Members for such devoted participation and contributions.

During my term as your Chair this upcoming year, I will focus on the following five main objectives:

  1. Foster Increased Use of Our Network Infrastructure
    The pandemic has taught us that we can use the incredible technological infrastructure that WSG has built out to deepen participation of Member firms. This infrastructure is at times under-utilized. It is incumbent on all of us to creatively engage with our colleagues and firms to “engrain” WSG participation in the member firms.
  2. Emerging Leaders Group
    The Emerging Leaders Group (ELG) is one way in which to deepen participation of the Member firms. The Emerging (and Emerged Leaders) have a vision of the future that benefits the network and the Member firms. Let’s give the Emerging (and Emerged Leaders) a more active “voice” in the network!
  3. Membership/Recruitment
    Some jurisdictions need WSG coverage. A focus on bringing new Members into the network is critical to our success.
  4. Expand WSG Brand Awareness
    WSG brand awareness needs a boost! We have very successfully re-branded. Let’s now take some affirmative steps to enhance the awareness of our brand in renewed ways.
  5. Update Technological Resilience of Our Systems
    Our network infrastructure is critical to the organization. Technology evolves, and so must the systems that support our network. It is critical that we keep up with the ever – evolving technological advances and updates.
Once again, I feel very privileged to serve as Chair of such a successful organization and with Members who are focused on offering the highest quality, value and service to clients. I look forward to your support and feedback, and I thank you for your trust in my leadership this year.

Yours sincerely,

Herman Raspé
World Services Group

In The News

Asia Pacific

DFDL Cambodia, alongside Mah-Kamariyah & Philip Koh (MKP) in Malaysia, GTLaw LLC in Singapore and, lead counsel, Thomson Geer in Australia, advised Domino’s Pizza Enterprises on its biggest deal to date, being an agreement to acquire the existing Domino’s Pizza businesses in Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore for approximately AUD 214 million.

The acquisition of the Cambodian, Malaysian and Singapore operations will add 287 new stores to the company’s network, with the majority located in Malaysia. The jump in store numbers has led Domino’s to lift its targeted store count in Asia from 2,400 stores to 3,000 stores by 2033 with SE Asia now representing a substantial long-term growth region.

For Cambodia, the transaction team was led by Chris Robinson, and supported by Benjamine Medeville, Vansok Khem, Samnangvathana Sor, Raksa Chan, Simon Burlinson, Chaknineath Chhim, Davin Hor, Nearirath Sreng, Chansreyrath Pheun and Ratana Kao and, for tax, Clint O’Connell.

The Deacons Financial Services team recently assisted Fubon Fund Management (Hong Kong) Limited (Fubon) with the launch of the Fubon Hang Seng Shanghai-Shenzhen-Hong Kong (Selected Corporations) High Dividend Yield Index ETF. It was listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong on 8 July 2022.

This ETF is a new sub-fund under Fubon ETF Series OFC and tracks the Hang Seng Shanghai-Shenzhen-Hong Kong (Selected Corporations) High Dividend Yield Index which represents the overall performance of the 30 highest net-dividend yielding stocks among sizable securities listed in Shanghai, Shenzhen or Hong Kong that have demonstrated relatively lower price volatility and a persistent dividend payment record for the latest three fiscal years..

As the fifth exchange traded product launched by Fubon, the ETF supplements the existing suite of Fubon’s investment product offerings. Deacons has previously advised Fubon in setting up other exchange traded products, which primarily focus on tracking the performance of the Taiwan equity market.

The Deacons team was led by Partner Pinky Siu and Associate Goofy Chan.

Kudun and Partners is thrilled to work on another significant pro bono project with TrustLaw, Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal program.

The team, led by Chai Lertvittayachaikul, partner and co-head of the firm’s Projects and Energy Practice, and assisted by an associate, Nutthar Hongchutchaval, provided legal advice for the “Refugee Rights Litigation Project” under the Peace Way Foundation (PWF), a Thai non-profit organization founded in 2001 to assist vulnerable people such as migrants and refugees.

The RRLP is a group of pioneering Thai lawyers who seek to provide refugees in Thailand with practical legal advice and representation. The project is developing the first-ever Thai-language litigation manual for Thai lawyers on the issue of refugees and asylum seekers, which will be used to conduct training for Thai lawyers interested in working on refugee cases. Our team was entrusted with providing advice on a chapter related to the existing immigration and labor rules, specifically the Foreigners’ Working Management Emergency Decree 2017.

“We hope that with our advice, the Refugee Rights Litigation Project can proceed further allowing them to continue advocating for vulnerable people,” Chai Lertvittayachaikul said.

Kongkoch Yongsavasdikul, Kudun and Partners’ CSR committee chair remarked, “The collaborative effort between TrustLaw’s staff and the hundreds of lawyers who volunteer their time and expertise at no charge to aid the communities in need is indeed the heart and soul of the success of these pro-bono projects. We are grateful that we can continue to take a small part in contributing to the improvement of the world’s social and environmental conditions through the TrustLaw program.”

About Kudun and Partners CSR Initiatives

Kudun and Partners remains committed to contributing back to the community through our various CSR initiative. We understand that our responsibility goes beyond advising clients and it is imperative for us to help the communities to which we belong. We want to inspire not only our colleagues but also our clients and friends to make a difference. Our CSR is mainly focused on the top UN Sustainable Development Goals, which are:

  • No Poverty;
  • Zero Hunger;
  • Good Health and Well Being; and
  • Quality Education.

Should any of you have any interest or ideas in CSR activities, please do not hesitate to reach out to the BDMC team.


Paris, September 15, 2022 – Jeantet has advised the Chinese group China Medical System in the context of (i) a stake and acquisition of a stake, through certain group subsidiaries, of approximately 33.4% of the share capital of the French company Eye Tech Care and (ii) the signing of a licensing, collaboration and distribution agreement for the EyeOP1® ultrasound glaucoma treatment device.

Based in Shenzhen, the China Medical System group is a leader in the development and distribution of new medical treatments, particularly in the areas of dermatology and ophthalmology. The operation aims to provide a new, high-quality treatment option for glaucoma patients in China and Southeast Asian countries.

Founded in 2008 in Lyon by experts in the field of therapeutic ultrasound and in partnership with INSERM, Eye Tech Care is dedicated to the application of therapeutic ultrasound technology in the fight against glaucoma, developing and promoting the EyeOP1® glaucoma treatment device for the non-invasive treatment by UCP® of this ophthalmological disease.

The Jeantet team was composed of Thierry Brun, (Partner),Maxime Brotz (Counsel), Pak-Hang Li , You Shang and Maria Plakci (Associates), for the Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions aspects.

Eye Tech Care was advised by CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats with Xinyu Hu and David Mantienne (Counsels), Yanchao Wu (Associate), for the Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions aspects, Johann Roc'h and Henri Bitar (Partners) for the tax aspect, Nicolas Zhu (Partner – CMS Shanghai), and Laila Lu (Associate – CMS Shanghai), for the contract law aspects.

COBALT advises AS PRFoods in selling its Swedish business to Vattudalens Fisk AB. The shares of Vattudalens Fisk AB, the acquirer of Överumans Fisk AB, are owned by Svaholmen AS, which is part of Norwegian group Egersund Group AS.

The transaction includes the sale of 100% of the shares of Överumans Fisk AB, a Swedish subsidiary owned by Saaremere Kala AS. Överumans Fisk´s field of activity is rainbow trout breeding in Sweden.

PRFoods is a leading fish and fish products manufacturer and wholesaler, which is listed on the Tallinn Stock Exchange and operates in Estonia, the Nordics, and Scotland.

Vattudalens Fisk AB is a Swedish company that has been farming rainbow trout for over 10 years.

Our work includes advising the client in the role of a lead counsel throughout the process. The COBALT team is led by Managing Associate Jesse Kivisaari, Partner Martin Simovart, and Associate Getter Villmann, and includes Partner Marina Kotkas, Senior Associate Heili Haabu, and Associate Christine Mägi.

We were delighted to advise our client, the Scottish National Investment Bank, in its investment in pureLiFi, a wireless communications start-up that uses light to transmit data.

John Morrison, who led the Shepherd and Wedderburn deal team with support from Ian Crombie and Sophie Bailey, said: “It is a pleasure to have worked with the Bank to facilitate this deal, which supports the roll-out of innovative communications technology and the creation of high skilled jobs in Scotland.

Our corporate finance team regularly acts in funding rounds to assist the scaling up of innovative businesses, particularly those operating in the tech, cleantech and life sciences sectors.

Latin America

Buenos Aires, August 24th, 2022. On July 29th, INVAP S.E. (“INVAP”) issued Class V Notes, carried out in two series under the company’s Global Program of up to US$50,000,000 (or its equivalent in other currencies and/or units of value), for a total nominal amount of AR$1,212,301,586.

Series I Notes were issued for a nominal amount of AR$642,857,142, maturing on July 29th, 2024. They will accrue interest at a floating rate equivalent to the private Badlar rate, and will amortize their principal in five payments in the last five quarters. Series II Notes were issued for a nominal amount of AR$569,444,444, maturing on July 29th, 2025, accruing interest at a floating rate equivalent to the private Badlar rate plus a cut-off margin of 2%. They will amortize their principal in four payments, to be made in the last four quarters.

On July 22nd, 2022, FIX SCR S.A. locally rated Class V Notes “A-(arg)”. These Notes were admitted for listing in Bolsas y Mercados Argentinos S.A. and authorized for trading at Mercado Abierto Electrónico S.A.

In the issuance of the Class V Notes, Banco Patagonia S.A. acted as organizer, while Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires S.A.U., Banco Patagonia S.A., SBS Trading S.A. and Nación Bursátil S.A. acted as placement agents. All parties turned to Beccar Varela, whose team was led by Luciana Denegri, assisted by María Victoria Pavani, María Inés Cappelletti, Julián Ojeda, María Belén Tschudy, and Tomás Cappellini.

INVAP S. E. is an Argentine high-tech company dedicated to the design, integration, and construction of plants, equipment, and devices in highly complex areas such as nuclear energy, space technology

Morgan & Morgan Legal advised Mercantil Holding Financiero Internacional, S.A. (the “Issuer”), an affiliate of Grupo Mercantil and the indirect holder of leading enterprises in the banking and insurance business in Panama and other countries, in the registration of corporate bonds for an aggregate of US$100,000,000 with the Superintendency of Capital Markets of Panama in order for the Issuer to publicly offer the bonds in series.

The first series of the bonds for US$38,500,000 was successfully placed through the Latin American Stock Exchange ("Latinex”). The funds received by the Issuer as a result of the issuance will be used by the Issuer to finance the growth of its operations, amongst other purposes in its ordinary course of business. Prival Securities, Inc. and Mercantil Servicios de Inversión, S.A. acted as broker dealers for the placement of the bonds through Latinex.

Partners Francisco Arias G., Roberto Vidal and Ricardo Arias A., and international associate Miguel Arias participated in this transaction.

IDB Invest has granted a $40 million financial package to the companies Elcatex and San Juan Textiles, both members of Grupo Elcatex, one of the leading textile conglomerates in Honduras with more than 15,000 employees. The financing consists of $25 million from IDB Invest and the mobilization of $15 million.

BLP advised IDB Invest on the structuring of the financing as well as the preparation of guarantee documents and modification of the Trust held between the parties involved in the transaction while carrying out the registration process before the relevant government agencies.

The funds will support the creation of 2,000 new jobs in Honduras, the increase in purchases from local SMEs, and the acquisition of machinery and supplies to increase textile production and maintain the Grupo Elcatex´s decarbonization strategy.

North America & Caribbean

Calypso-Valcartier Group recently announced the sale of all of the shares of its two amusement parks, Village Vacances Valcartier located near Quebec City and Calypso, near Ottawa, and more specifically of the shares of the two parks’ operating corporations and their asset holding corporations. The assets of the two parks are now indirectly owned by EPR Properties, and they are operated by a Canadian subsidiary of Premier Parks, LLC.

Our partners, André Vautour and France Camille De Mers, and their team assisted Premier Parks LLC in the due diligence of the parks’ assets and operations. They participated in structuring the new parks’ operating corporations, in the drafting of the share acquisition documentation of both the asset holding and operating corporations, and in the negotiation of all associated terms.

The transaction was realized in collaboration with the Tennessee-based law firm Waller, a member, as is Lavery, of World Services Group, a worldwide network of premier law and other professional firms.

In a blockbuster deal A to Z, one of Oregon’s biggest wineries, sold to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the Woodinville, Washington-based industry giant.

A to Z, along with its Rex Hill brand, joins Erath Winery in Ste. Michelle’s Oregon stable, which will be led by A to Z chief executive Amy Prosenjak as president of Oregon Brands.

A to Z was founded 20 years ago by Tannahill, Cheryl Francis, Deb Hatcher and Bill Hatcher, all Oregon wine veterans. It grew to over 350,000 annual cases calling itself the “Essence of Oregon” and typically selling at under $20 a bottle. In an interview, Prosenjak said the deal will allow A to Z to take another big step.

“One of the taglines of A to Z has always been bigger can be better,” she said. “We’re unique here in Oregon, compared to a lot of smaller-sized wineries, and have always operated under that model. And we're going to do that again in this next chapter.”

As big as the sale is for Oregon wine, it’s a bold play by Ste. Michelle less than a year after the private equity firm Sycamore Partners bought it from Altria for $1.2 billion.

“Erath and A to Z share the same passion for producing high-quality wines at fair prices, making A to Z a natural fit for Ste. Michelle,” Ste. Michelle CEO David Dearie said in a statement. “The future of Pacific Northwest wines — both Oregon and Washington — is bright and we’re excited to introduce new consumers across the country and around the world to the full complement of our region’s outstanding wines.”

With the deal, Bill Hatcher is retiring while the other three A to Z cofounders join Ste. Michelle as consultants.

“We could not have found a better partner than Ste. Michelle to carry on the legacy of both A to Z and Rex Hill,” Deb Hatcher said in a statement. “They understand the Pacific Northwest better than anyone, and they know what it takes to promote an entire region on the global stage.”

A to Z and Erath are similarly sized and feature Oregon pinot noir as their leading SKU (as opposed to Willamette Valley-designated pinot), with A to Z typically a couple of dollars up the price ladder from Erath. How will the brands be distinguished?

“If you taste the wines, the styles are different, and the brands have different personalities,” Prosenjak said. “That will be maintained, but it’s going to be fun now that this is public to really get to work on a coherent strategic plan.”

A to Z and Rex Hill wines are made in Newberg, where A to Z expanded at the Rex Hill winery site as it grew. Erath wines are made in Dundee at the 12th and Maple custom-crush winery.

Prosenjak said it remains to be determined if investments in winemaking facilities or vineyards might be forthcoming from Ste. Michelle in Oregon. But she added that “with Sycamore Partners behind the ownership, I think there's a lot of appetite for growth and investment. And that makes it exciting.”

While this acquisition might fairly be called the biggest deal in Oregon wine since Ste. Michelle bought Erath in 2006, there has been a steady stream of smaller acquisitions, increasingly featuring international players.

It’s no wonder why: Oregon has been on a roll for years, with no signs of slowing down: The value of Oregon wine sales rose 23.1% in the 52-week period ended this January compared to the same period two years ago, easily besting California (up 7.9%) and Washington (down 4.9%). The overall U.S. market was up 7.7%.

“I think there’s more of this to come,” Prosenjak said. “I mean, why wouldn’t you want Oregon in your portfolio? If you don’t have Oregon today, I would think you would want Oregon tomorrow.”

Schwabe Mergers and Acquisitions attorneys were instrumental in this transition.

Dinsmore mergers and acquisitions attorneys in Detroit were happy to represent Alta Equipment Group, Inc. (NYSE: ALTG) and its subsidiaries in its acquisition of Yale Industrial Trucks, Inc (“YIT”) and accompanying amendments to Alta’s credit facilities (including the establishment of a new $35 million Canadian denominated sublimit).

Alta sells, rents and provides parts and service for specialized equipment including lift trucks, integrated material handling systems, earth moving and other construction equipment making the company one of the largest equipment dealership platforms in the country. YIT is a lift truck dealer with five locations in Canada. The acquisition of YIT extends Alta’s operations into an international market for the first time, including Canada’s two largest population centers of Montreal and Toronto.

“At Alta we take the term ‘partner’ seriously,” said Alta Chief Financial Officer, Anthony Colucci. “Jeff Hoover, Evonne Xu, and Ian Larkin have represented Alta in more than 15 acquisitions over the last several years and are truly partners in Alta’s growth. Going into an international market for the first time was a challenging proposition but the Dinsmore team, as they always have, brought great resources, professional acumen and a business-first approach to the deal, which ultimately was a great success for Alta and our new business in Canada. I don’t think of Jeff and his team as a “law firm”, they are our partners with high-end business capabilities that help us execute on strategic initiatives.”

Dinsmore’s team also included associate Lillian Belanger-Katzman and practice specialist Ashley Gratz, as well as several other subject matter specialists.

“We are grateful to have represented Alta in numerous transactions over the past several years as Alta continues to execute on its growth strategy,” Dinsmore’s Jeff Hoover said. “We truly appreciate the opportunity to help Alta expand both in the U.S. and now internationally.”

Hoover and his team joined Dinsmore last summer in Detroit and Chicago. They represent both buyers and sellers in middle-market strategic transactions averaging $250 million apiece, and ranging anywhere from $50 million up to $1 billion. Their clients are diverse, including private equity firms, multinational corporations and companies in heavy equipment, financial services, health care, cryptocurrency, defense, aerospace, hydroponics, industrial, automotive and more. They also specialize in financing and lending transactions on both corporate and real estate matters.

O’Neal Webster was pleased to act for Kalo in the British Virgin Islands aspects of the transaction of its successful sale to Interpath, the international advisory firm which launched in 2021 following a buyout of KPMG’s UK restructuring practice. The deal, which closed July 20, 2022, establishes Interpath’s foothold in the Caribbean and positions Kalo’s well-established insolvency and restructuring teams in the BVI, Cayman, and Anguilla to compete for the largest and most complex assignments worldwide.

The BVI is often at the center of international restructurings and insolvencies, where Kalo enjoyed continued growth, in both talent and numbers, since incorporation in 2005 and handled a majority of the most significant work coming out of the jurisdiction in that time. The combination with Interpath builds upon Kalo’s existing liquidation and restructuring, advisory, and forensic services in the Caribbean; provides additional experience, expertise, and services from across the wider Interpath business; and expands capabilities in valuations, M&A, and other financial transactions.

“O’Neal Webster was the perfect partner for us in the acquisition process and the successful completion of the BVI portion of the deal,” explains Paul Pretlove, head of the BVI practice. “It couldn’t have gone any smoother. Having had many opportunities to work with the firm in the past, I was confident that their knowledge of our business and operations, as well as the BVI regulatory and corporate landscape, would be a real asset to us at a crucial time in tying together all of the loose ends across several jurisdictions to get the deal over the line. That certainly proved to be true and we are delighted with the outcome.”

“We are very pleased to have been a part of Kalo’s next chapter with Interpath,” adds O’Neal Webster Managing Partner Vanessa King. “Working with Paul and his BVI team was a pleasure and a privilege, as always. We wish them great success going forward.”

Interpath’s acquisition of Kalo will see Gordon MacRae, Charlotte Caulfield, Elizabeth Mackay, and Paul Pretlove; and a team of more than 30 experienced professionals spanning two distinct offices, join Interpath, bolstering the reach and strength of the firm’s international advisory offerings. Gordon MacRae and Paul Pretlove will continue to lead the Cayman and BVI offices respectively.

ESR is the largest real asset manager in Asia Pacific. In partnership with Chinachem, a leading property developer in Hong Kong SAR, ESR plans to develop a seven-story facility on the site to answer the growing demand for storage space driven by the rise of e-commerce in the region.

The Carey Olsen team representing the club of lenders comprised corporate and finance partner James Webb, counsel Dan Moore, and associate Calvin Lee.

James said: "We have extensive experience in real estate, acquisition and joint venture financing in the APAC region and are very pleased to support Mayer Brown as onshore legal counsel and this key group of lenders on a very significant financing in Hong Kong SAR."

WSG Insights

WSG Board of Directors 2022-2023

Congratulations to the 2022-2023 WSG Board of Directors led by Officers: Chair, Herman H. Raspé from Patterson Belknap; Chair Elect, Anastasia Campbell from Graham Thompson; Secretary André Vautour from Lavery Lawyers; Treasurer, David Gutierrez from BLP and Chair Emeritus, Stefan Erhag from Delphi.

Meet the Board

WSG Regional Councils 2022-2023

World Services Group (WSG) is also pleased to announce the newly elected members to the 2022-2023 Regional Councils. The Councils develop and implement regional activities that continue collaboration and global integration of regional perspectives to strengthen global unification of network members.

Meet the Councils

WSG Groups - New Leaders

WSG Groups continue to grow and offer great opportunities for networking and exchange of knowledge. WSG welcomes Charbel Abi-Antoun, Partner at Beirut Law Firm, as the new Africa & Middle East Energy Group Leader and Jonathan Hackbarth, Partner at Quarles and Brady, as the new North America Dispute Resolution Group Leader.

View Groups

Recent Happenings

WSG Employment & Labor Group Annual Meeting

06 - 07 October 2022Amsterdam, Netherlands
The WSG Employment and Labor Group invites members to its annual Employment and Labor Group meeting hosted by Van Doorne in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This meeting will be a great opportunity to meet in-person in Europe after the past several years of virtual events. We invite WSG members to once again network with colleagues and strengthen relationships in-person. This is the first in-person Employment and Labor group meeting in Europe since 2019.

WSG Life Sciences & Patent Law Group Europe Meeting

21 - 23 September 2022Edinburgh, Scotland
The WSG Life Sciences & Patent Law Groups held an annual cross practice group meeting hosted by Shepherd and Wedderburn in Edinburgh, Scotland. This meeting covered trending topics and issues within the industry and was a great opportunity to meet virtually and in-person once again after the past several years of virtual events.

WSG Energy Group Europe Meeting

15 - 16 September 2022Dusseldorf, Germany
WSG Energy Group members recently attended the Group's annual meeting hosted by Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek in Dusseldorf, Germany. This meeting was a great opportunity to meet in-person and strengthen relationships in Europe after the past several years of virtual events.

WSG 2022 Annual Meeting

07 - 09 September 2022San Francisco, United States of America
The WSG Annual Meeting 2022 hosted by Hanson Bridgett LLP took place in San Francisco, California. It was the first in-person WSG annual meeting since 2019. The program featured expert guest speakers, panel perspectives and discussions. And, was a great opportunity to reconnect through multiple networking opportunities to strengthen relationships within the network.

Upcoming Events

WSG 2022 IBA Networking Luncheon

31 October 2022Miami, Florida, United States of America
World Services Group welcomes attendees to the WSG 2022 IBA Networking Luncheon in Miami, Florida, USA on Monday, 31 October 2022. WSG members attending the International Bar Association (IBA) Annual Conference are invited to a luncheon that allows delegates the opportunity to network with fellow WSG experts and strengthen their international business relationships.

Hosted By:

WSG Insurance/Re-Insurance Group: Insurtech News and Legal Trends in Latin America

17 November 2022Virtual
The WSG Latin America Insurance/Re-Insurance Group invites members to attend this informative virtual discussion on Insurtech news and legal trends in Latin America.

Hosted By: