Automaker Geely Holdings’ luxury electric vehicle brand Lotus Technology agreed to merge with an LVMH-backed shell company, which saw legal support from Skadden, Han Kun Law Offices, Kirkland & Ellis, Fangda Partners and Shearman & Sterling.
Skadden acted as international legal counsel, while Han Kun Law Offices was PRC counsel to Lotus Tech.
Kirkland & Ellis advised special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) on international law, while Fangda Partners advised on PRC law.
The Kirkland & Ellis team was led by corporate partners Jesse Sheley and Joseph Casey, and capital market partners Steve Lin and Justin–Zhou.
The team included technology and IP partners Jeffery Norman and Wang Min, tax partners Vincent Thorn and Liam Murphy, antitrust and competition partner Paula Riedel, international trade and national security partners Ivan Schlager and Nathan Mitchell, employee benefits partners Maureen O’Brien and Matthew Wood, and government and internal investigations partners Cori Lable and Jodi Wu.
Corporate partner Bao Chen, of counsel Chen Suyin and counsel Stephen Liu led the Fangda team, with support from IP partner Qi Fang and antitrust partner Wang–Jin.
Shearman & Sterling acted as international legal counsel to the capital markets adviser, Credit Suisse Securities.
Lotus Tech will go public on the Nasdaq after June via a combination with the blank-cheque company L Catterton Asia Acquisition (LCAA) in a deal that valued the combined entity at USD5.4 billion, including USD288 million of cash from the latter’s trust account.
LCAA, which has ties to LVMH’s chief executive officer Bernard Arnault, is a SPAC that aims to acquire or merge with an existing company, allowing the combined entity to list without undertaking the traditional IPO process.
Lotus Tech is majority owned by China’s Geely with other shareholders, including Malaysia’s Etika and Nio Capital, an investment arm of the Chinese carmaker Nio.
In March 2022, the company launched its fully electric hyper sports utility vehicle, Eletre, which featured numerous innovative technologies, including the world’s first deployable LiDAR system and its self-developed software system.
The transaction involves R&D teams in three jurisdictions – the UK, Germany and China – and a put option agreement with affiliates of Geely and Etika.
Geely orchestrated several global capital fundraisings in the US last year, ranging from the SPAC listing of electric brand Polestar and automotive technology company ECARX, following its luxury auto brand Zeekr’s IPO filing with US regulators.