HM can exclusively reveal the team from popular Sydney and Singapore law firm Ryan Lawyers, led by principal Robert Williams, have been recruited by global business Withers.
Williams, a popular and recognised expert in the hotels sector across the region, will head Withers’ Asia-Pacific Hotels practice which includes a team of four corporate and commercial lawyers. He previously ran the Australian business of Ryan Lawyers, and has worked at Baker and McKenzie and Taylor Wessing.
He is joined by Justin Gross, partner, who has 20 years’ experience in M&A, funds and structuring, with tax, accounting and legal skills; Chris Greiner, a consultant to the team who is very highly regarded in the industry with over 30 years of experience in hospitality sector transactions and 20 years at Ashursts, including as a senior partner; and Vivian Chen, associate, is an experienced junior lawyer and has been supporting the team for a number of years.
Williams said the move came at an exciting time for the hotel industry across Asia-Pacific.
“Withers has a great platform across Asia-Pacific and, importantly, Withers KhattarWong gives us terrific presence in Singapore, which is the centre of gravity for hotel deals in South East Asia,” he said.
“The firm’s focus on high net worth investors and entrepreneurs aligns really well with our practice in the hotel and hospitality sector.
“Hotels and resort investment and development in Asia is growing steadily with SGD$12 billion in transactions expected in 2016.
“We believe that combining our industry experience with Withers’ reach and reputation makes for an unbeatable proposition for us and our clients,” Williams said.
Williams said the team represents leading owners and operators in the hotels and hospitality sector.
He said they specialise in acquisitions and sales of hotels and resorts, negotiating hotel management, franchising and development and leasing deals, operating platform M&A transactions and providing capital raising, fund structuring and vacation ownership advice.
Withers’ Managing Director, Margaret Robertson, said she was thrilled to have the Asia-Pacific team join the company.
“Withers has a long history of working with leading brands in the hotels and hospitality sectors, including Soho House, Levy Brothers hotel group, Balthazar and Eataly restaurants,” she said.
“Not only is the sector a natural fit with the interests of our clients, but it also has huge growth potential across Asia. Robert and his team are leading advisors in the field and will greatly enhance our offering in the region.”
Withers has transformed its footprint in Asia-Pacific since 2014: opening in Sydney towards the end of 2014 and creating the Withers SBL alliance; establishing the Withers KhattarWong alliance in Singapore in April 2015, which has hugely increased the services and size of the firm in South East Asia; and opening a corporate tax practice in Tokyo in June 2015.
With an expanded Californian practice, including offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Rancho Santa Fe, the firm is based across the Pacific Rim’s key financial centres.