Sam Kelso
  1. Counsel

Mr. Kelso is counsel in the Davis Polk Corporate Department, resident in Hong Kong and having previously worked in the firm’s New York, London and Northern California offices. Mr. Kelso advises on mergers & acquisitions and private equity transactions and has advised on a wide variety of cross-border transactions in and out of the Asia-Pacific region across many sectors, including technology, media, consumer, education, logistics, healthcare, industrials, retail and financial services. He has extensive experience in private and public acquisitions, leveraged and management buyouts, venture capital financings, going private transactions, joint ventures, PIPEs, recapitalizations, minority investments and dispositions.

Work Highlights

  • GOJEK on its Series F funding round and investments by Facebook, PayPal, Google and Tencent in GoPay
  • ASE Technology’s acquisition of Asteelflash and $3.35 billion acquisition of SPIL
  • JB Financial’s acquisition of Morgan Stanley Gateway Securities in Vietnam
  • Comcast’s T1 esports joint venture with SK Telecom and $3.8 billion acquisition of DreamWorks Animation
  • Li & Fung on Temasek’s investment in LF Logistics
  • Jebsen’s Blue Girl beer joint venture with AB InBev
  • I Squared Capital’s sale of Amplus Energy to Petronas, Cube Highways investment in India and $1.9 billion acquisition of Hutchinson’s Hong Kong fixed-line business
  • Universal Studios’ Beijing theme park joint venture with Beijing Shouhuan
  • Various pre-IPO investment rounds by Lufax, Byton and Razer
  • Tencent’s investments in N26, Ola, Udaan and
  • China Investment Corporation on various global investments
  • Temasek on various investments in China
  • Uber on the merger of Uber China and Didi Chuxing
  • Baidu Capital’s investment in Grab and Baidu’s acquisition of Qunar
  • Various going-private transactions, including of AsiaInfo, Focus Media, Shanda Games, Bona Film, China Hydro,, Ku6 Media and E-House
  • SinoPac’s sale of Far East National Bank to Cathay Bank
  • GO Scale Capital’s $3.3 billion terminated acquisition of Lumileds from Philips
  • Philippine Long Distance Telephone’s sale of SPi Global to CVC Capital
  • Various investments and dispositions by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure in India
  • Shanda Interactive’s sale of Cloudary
  • ChipMOS Taiwan’s merger with its parent company, ChipMOS Bermuda
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s $25 billion debt-for-equity exchanges for AIG’s Asian insurance businesses, AIA and ALICO
  •  Warburg Pincus’ investment in QuEST Global and acquisition out of bankruptcy of the U.S. operations of GPX Tire
  • Vector Capital’s acquisition of Precise Software and Pharsight
  •  Francisco Partners’ Numonyx joint venture with Intel and STMicro
  • MediaTek’s acquisition of Analog Devices’ chipset business
  • PowerDsine’s sale to Microsemi
  • Telecom Italia’s €20 billion combination with TIM
  • NTL’s $6 billion merger with Telewest
  • Citigroup’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Banamex

Professional History

  • Counsel, 2013-present
  • Associate, 2001-2013
  • Hong Kong office, 2009-present
  • Northern California office, 2006-2009
  • London office, 2004-2006
  • New York office, 2001-2003

Bar Admissions

  • Hong Kong
  • State of California
  • State of New York


  • B.A., University of Sydney, 1994
  • LL.B., University of Sydney Law School, 1996
    • first-class honours
  • LL.M., University of Cambridge, 1998
    • Cambridge Commonwealth Scholarship
    • first-class honours