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Ken Lebrun


Represents major Japanese companies and financial institutions on many of their largest and most significant M&A transactions.

Ken has extensive experience in public and private cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances and private equity transactions. A Japanese speaker, Ken has represented major Japanese companies and financial institutions on many of their largest and most significant transactions. He has also advised Japanese companies on internal investigations and governance issues.

Chambers Asia-Pacific, which ranks him in Band 1 for Corporate/M&A, notes that Ken has a strong reputation for what clients describe as “extensive knowledge and experience representing Japanese companies in cross-border transactions.” Clients also say that his advice “always takes our business into consideration.”

Ken is Chair of the Foreign Direct Investment Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. He previously was a member of the Working Group of the Japanese Cabinet Office for Revising Regulations and Administrative Procedures for Promotion of Foreign Direct Investment.

Experience highlights

  • KOITO on its $100 million preferred stock investment in Cepton 
  • Relo Group on the business combination of its BGRS corporate mobility business with SIRVA
  • Shiseido on the $1.5 billion transfer of its global Personal Care business to CVC Asia Pacific and the transfer of its professional hair business to Henkel 
  • Kyocera in its $1.0 billion tender offer for the shares of AVX Corporation it did not already own
  • Tokyo Century in its $3.0 billion acquisition of the remaining 75.5% interest it did not own in Aviation Capital from Pacific Life
  • OKI Electric Industry in the sale of the IT services, software and hardware assets of OKI Brasil to NCR
  • Mizuho Bank on its sale of financial information provider Eurekahedge to Pageant Media
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Lease on the U.S. law aspects of its $2.8 billion merger with Hitachi Capital
  • Nitori in its $2.0 billion competing tender offer for Shimachu
  • Hoya in its $1.4 billion unsolicited tender offer for NuFlare Technology
  • Spiber, a Japanese biotech firm, in connection with long-term manufacturing collaboration agreements with ADM
  • A premier Japanese real estate company in its $1.6 billion offer to acquire a major Tokyo entertainment venue
  • A leading Japanese home builder in minority stake investments in two U.S. LED lighting ventures
  • Private equity and venture capital firms in investments in Japanese technology companies
  • Major investment banks as financial advisors in some of Japan’s most important deals, including tender offers, investments, dispositions, business combinations and joint ventures.

Before joining Davis Polk, Ken’s work included:

  • Mizuho Bank in:
    • its acquisition of a $36.5 billion loan portfolio from Royal Bank of Scotland
    • its acquisition of a 16% interest in and alliance with Matthews International Capital Management
    • its $1.2 billion investment in Merrill Lynch and its investments in CITIC Pacific
    • its acquisitions of Banco WestLB do Brasil and EurekaHedge
    • its acquisition and subsequent sale of a 16% interest in Evercore Partners
  • Shiseido in its sale of Zotos International to Henkel and its $1.7 billion tender offer for Bare Escentuals
  • Sompo in its $6.3 billion acquisition of Endurance Specialty Holdings
  • Mizkan Holdings in its $2.2 billion acquisition from Unilever of the Ragú and Bertolli pasta sauce business
  • Fujifilm in its $1 billion tender offer for SonoSite
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Chambers Asia-Pacific and Global – Corporate/M&A: International, Japan, Band 1

Legal 500 Asia Pacific – Corporate and M&A: International Firms and Joint Ventures, Japan

IFLR1000 – M&A and Private Equity, Japan, Market Leader

Asian Legal Business – “Dealmakers of Asia,” 2020 and 2021

Who’s Who Legal – M&A, Global Leader; M&A and Governance, Japan, National Leader

J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
M.S., Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Walsh School of Foreign Service
B.A., History, Carleton College
  • magna cum laude
Professional history
  • Partner, Davis Polk, 2018-present
  • Partner, Shearman & Sterling (Tokyo), 2007-2018
  • Associate and Counsel, Shearman & Sterling (New York and Tokyo), 2000-2006
  • Associate, White & Case (Tokyo), 1999-2000
  • Associate, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (New York), 1997-1999
Qualifications and admissions
  • Japan, Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi, Dai-Ichi Tokyo
  • State of New York
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