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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 ranks Ken in Band 1 for Corporate/M&A. Clients quoted by Chambers note Ken’s “extensive knowledge and experience representing Japanese companies in cross-border transactions,” and appreciate the way his advice “always takes our business into consideration.”

Ken has held leadership positions in the Foreign Direct Investment Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan for over 15 years, and has served on various Japanese cabinet office, METI and MOJ committees relating to foreign direct investment and the practice of law by foreign qualified lawyers in Japan. 

Experience highlights

  • Shiseido on its:
    • $1.5 billion transfer of its global Personal Care business to CVC Asia Pacific
    • transfer of its professional hair business to Henkel
    • sale of Zotos International to Henkel*
    • $1.7 billion tender offer for Bare Escentuals*
  • Japan Industrial Partners on the $15.2 billion acquisition of Toshiba by a consortium led by Japan Industrial Partners
  • JIC Capital on its:
    • $6.3 billion acquisition of JSR Corporation
    • $4.7 billion acquisition of Shinko Electric Industries by a consortium led by JIC Capital
  • KOITO on its $100 million preferred stock investment in Cepton
  • GA technologies on its acquisition of Renters Warehouse in an Article 9 foreclosure
  • Relo Group on the business combination of its BGRS corporate mobility business with SIRVA
  • 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
  • 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
    • acquisition of a $36.5 billion loan portfolio from Royal Bank of Scotland*
    • acquisition of a 16% interest in Matthews International Capital Management*
    • $1.2 billion investment in Merrill Lynch and its investments in CITIC Pacific*
    • acquisitions of Banco WestLB do Brasil and EurekaHedge*
    • acquisition and subsequent sale of a 16% interest in Evercore Partners*
  • 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 on its long-term manufacturing collaboration agreements with ADM
  • 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*
  • Major investment banks as financial advisors in some of Japan’s most important deals

* Indicates a matter led by Ken prior to joining Davis Polk

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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

  • Davis Polk since 2018
  • 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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