Tech

Skadden loses top lawyer to ByteDance amid China IPO chill

US law firm Skadden Arps has lost its top Asian capital markets attorney as the flow of Chinese companies selling shares in New York and Hong Kong dwindles.

Julie Gao is joining Chinese tech giant ByteDance, which owns TikTok, to take on the role of Chief Financial Officer. The Beijing-based company has dashed its own hopes of a near-term IPO amid the country’s tech repression.

Gao has been a top dealmaker at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for years and has overseen the IPOs of dozens of Chinese companies in New York and Hong Kong.

But as the pipeline of Chinese companies hoping to sell stocks in the U.S. dwindles, the California attorney appears to be banking on a brighter future with China’s leading social media company on the back of the short-video app’s global success TikTok continues to grow.

Her move to ByteDance comes at a difficult time for the company domestically. Chinese officials have introduced a series of regulations that curb the company’s business.

Beijing’s new regulations target everything from online education, which has been a growth market for the company, to short video apps like those of TikTok sister app Douyin that push personalized content to users.

The difficult business environment prompted ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming to do so resign as managing director and chairman of the company last year.

His successor, Liang Rubo, said Gao will work out of ByteDance’s Hong Kong and Singapore offices, helping the team “fulfill our mission of inspiring creativity and enriching life,” according to an internal Financial Times memo.

Gao is a senior partner at Skadden and a member of the law firm’s Policy Committee, its governing body. Her ability to penetrate the public and private market finance market has long been the envy of Hong Kong colleagues.

“I once asked a client why she always uses it,” said an attorney at a rival law firm in the city. “They said because she always looks after us — that she answers her emails at 2am.”

Another of the city’s leading IPO lawyers called her a “star in the capital markets.” She has worked on successful stock sales like those of Chinese e-commerce group JD.com, phone maker Xiaomi and grocer Meituan, but also some that have become problematic like Ridehailer Didi.

Liang said Gao has worked with ByteDance since 2016, helping with several of its acquisitions and financings. “She is familiar with our mission, culture, teams and business,” he wrote.

Globally, ByteDance faces several challenges, including in the US, where a national security agency examines the activities of TikTok and US government agencies Investigation of the short video app on handling child sexual abuse material.

Geopolitical calculations even prompted ByteDance to do it Tiktok not available in Gao’s native Hong Kong in 2020.

Skadden loses top lawyer to ByteDance amid China IPO chill Source link Skadden loses top lawyer to ByteDance amid China IPO chill

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