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Bio

David Bulley is the Managing Partner of the Hong Kong and Shanghai offices of Appleby and the Head of Private Equity/M&A and Restructuring in Asia. With over 14 years of experience in the legal industry, he is a trusted advisor to clients on complex and high-value transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and restructurings across multiple jurisdictions. David is also one of very few offshore lawyers based in Hong Kong who has been admitted in the Cayman Islands and the only offshore restructuring partner based in Hong Kong who has been admitted in Cayman Islands and BVI.

As a CFA Level 1 holder and a recognized restructuring and M&A specialist, David has a deep understanding of the financial and strategic aspects of his practice areas, as well as the regulatory and market dynamics in the offshore jurisdictions.

David’s advice is regularly sought on all aspects of offshore debt restructurings by both debtors and creditors.  Dominant in the market for advising China real estate developers on offshore aspects, David advises on liability management and offshore restructuring options.  David is currently leading the Appleby teams acting for six China real estate developers, previously advised on all offshore aspects of the successful restructuring of China Fortune Land Development Co., Ltd. and led the Appleby team which created new Cayman precedent by obtaining the dismissal of a winding-up petition brought against Shinsun Holdings Group Co, Ltd. by ultimate account holders of NY law governed notes, with such precedent recently having been referred to and followed by the Courts in Hong Kong.

In the last four years David has successfully led and completed M&A transactions with an aggregate value in excess of USD 135 billion, being named “Cayman Islands Mergers & Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year” in each of these years, and has advised on numerous landmark and precedent-setting mandates involving US and Hong Kong listed companies, creditors, and debtors.

Prior to moving offshore, David trained at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London before practising at Kirkland & Ellis and Sullivan & Cromwell in London.

Work Highlights

Restructuring*:

Debtor Representations

China Real Estate

  • China Fortune Land Development Co., Ltd. – lead partner advising the Company on all offshore aspects of the successful debt restructuring including novel solutions to sanctions and debt for equity issues.
  • Fantasia Holdings Group Company Limited – lead partner advising the Company on all offshore aspects of its ongoing restructuring of offshore debt liabilities.
  • Shimao Group Holdings Ltd. – lead partner advising the Company on all offshore aspects of its ongoing restructuring of offshore debt liabilities.
  • Shinsun Holdings (Group) Co., Ltd. – lead partner advising the Company on successfully defending and dismissing a winding-up petition in the Cayman Islands and in doing so created new precedent in relation to the enforcement of US law governed bonds by ultimate account holders, which has now been followed in Hong Kong.  Continuing to advise the Company on all offshore aspects of its ongoing restructuring of offshore debt liabilities.
  • Advising on five other large non-public debt restructuring mandates in the China real estate space.

Offshore Oil and Gas

  • CHC Helicopter Group – advising on restructuring by way of Chapter 11 and Cayman process.
  • Pacific Drilling – advising on its 2018 restructuring by way of Chapter 11 and Cayman process.
  • Pacific Drilling – lead partner advising on its 2020 restructuring by way of Chapter 11 and Cayman process.
  • Whalsay Energy Limited – advising on its restructuring and its listing on the Cayman Stock Exchange.

Creditor Representations

  • Hercules Offshore – The Ad Hoc Group of Creditors on the first restructuring of Hercules Offshore Inc. by way of US Chapter 11 and offshore process.
  • Noble – An Ad Hoc Group of Noteholders of Noble on its restructuring by way of Chapter 11.
  • Ocean Rig – The Ad Hoc Group of Creditors of Ocean Rig UDW. Inc. on a financial restructuring by way of multiple Cayman Schemes of Arrangement and Chapter 15.
  • Scottish Re – The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors on the Chapter 11 of Scottish Re.
  • Seadrill – The Ad Hoc Group of Senior Secured Creditors of Seadrill on restructuring by US and Bermuda process.
  • Valaris – The Ad Hoc Group of Creditors of Valaris plc on its restructuring by way of Chapter 11 and offshore process.
  • Virgin Atlantic – A major creditor on the restructuring of Virgin Atlantic.

*A more complete list of experience is available upon request – representations set out above only includes offshore representations and not deals completed whilst at Kirkland & Ellis or Sullivan & Cromwell

PE / M&A**:

  • Ascendent Capital Partners on multiple acquisitions and exits.
  • Benchmark Asia on its acquisition of assets out of the liquidation of Pacific Harbour.
  • Celadon Partners on multiple acquisitions and exits.
  • China Automation Group on its privatization by way of a Cayman scheme of arrangement.
  • China Post on its USD128m investment in ULE Holdings.
  • China UnionPay in connection with its bid for Chinese tech assets.
  • MUFG on its acquisition of an interest in Grab Holdings Inc. for USD706m.
  • Sequoia Capital on multiple acquisitions.
  • SoftBank Group Corp. on multiple acquisitions and exits.
  • SoftBank Vision Fund on multiple acquisitions.
  • Various – Multiple privatisation transactions with an aggregate deal value in excess of USD20bn.

**A more complete list of experience is available upon request – representations set out above only includes Asia based transactions and not those completed for US / European clients

SPAC / DE-SPAC REPRESENTATIONS***:

US SPACS

  • Artisan Acquisition Corp. – US$300m SPAC IPO – sponsored by C-Ventures and Adrian Cheng.
  • Black Spade Acquisition Co – US$150m SPAC IPO – sponsored by Black Spade Capital and Lawrence Ho.
  • Gobi Acquisition Corporation – US$250m SPAC IPO – sponsored by PAG.
  • Silver Crest Acquisition Corporation – US$300m SPAC IPO – sponsored by affiliates of Ascendent Capital Partners.

Hong Kong SPACs

  • Various – Multiple ongoing Hong Kong SPAC IPO processes following the implementation of the Hong Kong SPAC regime under Chapter 18B of the Hong Kong listing rules.

De-SPACs

  •  Artisan Acquisition Corp. ongoing de-SPAC transaction with Prenetics.
  • Silver Crest Acquisition Corporation ongoing de-SPAC transaction with Tim Hortons China.

***A more complete list of experience is available upon request subject to confidentiality for multiple ongoing de-SPACs

Recognition

David is recognised as:

  • “Leading Individual “– Legal500 Asia Pacific Guide 2023
  • Received notable recognition Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific Guide 2024
  • “Highly Regarded : M&A; Restructuring “– IFLR1000 2022, 2023

Amongst other awards, David has been named as:

  • Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year : Cayman Islands – Lawyer Monthly 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022
  • Corporate Finance Lawyer of the Year : Cayman Islands – Finance Monthly 2019, 2021 and 2023
  • Most Trusted Corporate Restructuring Specialist : Cayman Islands – CV Magazine 2019

David has also been shortlisted for “Dealmaker of the Year” at ALB Hong Kong Law Awards 2023, with Appleby also shortlisted for “Offshore Law Firm of the Year”.

Qualifications & Education

David is qualified in England & Wales, Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands. He graduated from Cambridge University.

  • University of Cambridge (England)

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