BAKER & MCKENZIE’S Japanese office has helped create the largest hotel operator in Japan through its advice to InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) on its hotel operating joint venture partnership with All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Hideo Ohta, one of the lead partners from Baker & McKenzie GJBJ Tokyo Aoyama Aoki Law Office, said the deal was “remarkable for its innovative structure”, as well as being the first joint venture of its size to use the new Japanese limited liability company (LLC) structure introduced just five months ago.
IHG will invest £8 ($20) million to acquire a 75 per cent stake in the co-branded joint venture company, to be named IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan LLC.
As well as Ohta, the Baker & McKenzie team was led by Chris Hodgens, assisted by Kengo Nishigaki and Elizabeth Ticehurst in Tokyo, and the Sydney office hotels and resorts team, including Hanna Lee and Rupert Maloney.
“The transaction is significant not only because of the parties and the scale of the joint venture undertaking but also because of the enormous time and effort that went into planning and documenting the integration of ANA hotels and resorts and associated infrastructure with the IHG organisation and systems,” said Hodgens.
Ohta added: “This was on top of the usual complexities that attend any international business undertaking in Japan and showcases the firm’s capabilities in helping clients negotiate complex cross-border transactions in Japan.”
ANA will sign new 15-year management contracts with the joint venture company for its 13 owned and leased hotels, adding these hotels to IHG’s system on completion of the deal, which is expected in December. All 13 hotels will over time re-brand to one of three co-brands created for Japan — ANA-InterContinental, ANA-Crowne Plaza and ANA-Holiday Inn.
ANA was represented by leading domestic firm, Nagashima Ohno and Tsunematsu.