Walkers Legal Internship Programme nurtures future talent

Walkers is delighted to announce that its Legal Internship Programme ran for three weeks, from 17 July to 4 August.  Hosting 10 students this summer, the programme was designed to provide these aspiring legal professionals with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a leading global law firm.

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Jan Golaszewski joins Walkers team in London as Insolvency & Dispute Resolution partner

Leading offshore Insolvency & Dispute Resolution lawyer Jan Golaszewski has joined Walkers team in London in a lateral partner hire from another offshore law firm in the City.

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What can we learn from recent enforcement actions in the Cayman Islands?

Walkers' regulatory partners Lucy Frew and Ian Mason consider the learning points for financial services providers (FSPs) from recent enforcement actions by Cayman regulatory bodies.

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Walkers announces 29 senior legal and professional services promotions

Walkers, the international financial services firm, is boosting its legal and professional services teams with 28 senior promotions effective from 1 July.

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Walkers acts on Aquarian Acquisition of Somerset Re

Walkers (Bermuda) Limited ("Walkers") is pleased to have acted as Bermuda legal counsel to Aquarian Holdings ("Aquarian") on the signing of a definitive agreement for Aquarian to acquire a controlling interest in Somerset Re, the Bermuda based reinsurer founded in 2014 that is a leading provider of reinsurance solutions for asset intensive life insurance and annuity business. In addition, the transaction will provide Somerset Re with a substantial amount of immediate and committed new capital to further drive growth and fortify Somerset Re’s leading market position.

Aquarian is a diversified holding company with interests in businesses including insurance, asset management, real estate, and technology.

Somerset Re, which has grown 93% per annum to US$5 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2021, intends to continue its liability-focused approach to providing a strong professional reinsurance option to the market.

The transaction partners Aquarian with existing strategic investors Hannover Re, the third-largest reinsurer in the world, and Weiss Family Interests, which includes George Weiss, CEO of Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisors LLC and Somerset Re founder, each of which will retain ownership interest and involvement in Somerset Re. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022 and is subject to customary regulatory closing conditions.

Walkers worked in concert with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Arthur Cox LLP, and was led by Bermuda partner Sarah Demerling.

Walkers Acts as BSX Listing Sponsor on Peak Re's Landmark 144A Catastrophe Bond

Walkers Listing Services (Bermuda) Limited ("Walkers") is delighted to have acted as Bermuda Stock Exchange listing sponsor to Peak Reinsurance Company's ("Peak Re") first ever catastrophe bond ("cat bond") issuance: the Black Kite Re Limited ("Black Kite") Principal At-Risk Variable Rate Note Program and US150m Series 2022-1 Class A Principal At-Risk Variable Rate Notes.

Black Kite is incorporated in Hong Kong and authorised by the Insurance Authority of Hong Kong to undertake special purpose reinsurance business in or from Hong Kong. Not only is Black Kite the largest cat bond so far to be issued out of Hong Kong, it is also the first ever full 144A cat bond to be issued from Hong Kong. In addition, the Black Kite Re cat bond is now expected to become the first to use the Pilot Insurance-linked Securities Grant Scheme introduced by the Government of Hong Kong last year. 

The cat bond is designed to provide Peak Re with US$150 million of Japanese typhoon industry-loss based retrocessional protection and closed at double the target value of US$75 million.

Sarah Demerling, partner at Walkers commented "We were delighted to be a part of this historic and exciting cross border transaction. Notwithstanding the emergence of new jurisdictions into the ILS catbond market, it was very pleasing and fitting to see the Bermuda Stock Exchange chosen as the listing venue."

Walkers' Bermuda listing team was led by partner Sarah Demerling with assistance from senior associate Cathryn Minors. Walkers' Cayman fiduciary team also assisted in acting as share trustee and the setting up of a purpose trust for the structure.

Walkers Advises COVA Acquisition on $3.82 Billion de-SPAC Merger with ECARX

Walkers is pleased to announce it is acting as Cayman Islands counsel to COVA Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company listed on Nasdaq, on its definitive agreement to merge with mobility tech company ECARX Holdings. The merged company is expected to have a pro forma equity value of approximately $3.82 billion and will be listed on Nasdaq under the new ticker symbol "ECX". The transaction is expected to close in Q4 2022.

ECARX is an automotive technology firm that develops hardware and software solutions aimed at transforming next-gen electronic vehicles, including technology for future electric vehicles, smart connected cockpits and unsupervised driving. Proceeds from the transaction will enable ECARX to accelerate its technology development and product roll-out, strategic acquisitions and investments, and international expansion.

Walkers is acting alongside US counsel Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.  The Walkers team is led by corporate partner Jason Allison along with James Murrie.

Walkers Acts on Jewel Bank's Bermuda Banking License

Walkers is delighted to have acted as Bermuda counsel to Jewel Holdings Bermuda Limited ("Jewel") on its successful application for a full banking license and a digital assets business license in Bermuda.

Walkers acted as lead legal counsel on the dual-licensing process for a full banking licence under the Banks and Deposits Companies Act 1999 and a class F licence under the Digital Asset Business Act 2018 (as amended). Jewel Bank is Bermuda’s first new bank in over 20 years and first digital asset bank. Jewel’s services address the core banking, payments, and settlement needs of many of the world’s largest global digital asset firms and exchanges, via API or web. As a fully licensed Bermudian bank, Jewel Bank will service digital asset firms (B2B) around the world in any non-sanctioned jurisdiction, as well as the US.

Walkers partner Natalie Neto commented: "We are so pleased to see Jewel achieve its licenses after an extensive application and approval process and very proud that they have chosen Bermuda as their preferred jurisdiction for operations. Bermuda continues to be a leading domicile for Fintech and digital assets businesses across all sectors seeking to take advantage of the legal certainty offered by the digital assets business licensing framework under the Digital Assets Business Act, 2018. With the presence of Jewel Bank, Bermuda now offers a much needed banking solution for the digital assets business sector as well as for the public generally".

Jewel Bank’s banking infrastructure aims to fill a critical gap in the burgeoning global digital asset market by providing globally accessible digital asset banking from the strategic global financial jurisdiction of Bermuda. At a critical time in the stablecoin market where certainty and true stability is needed with respect to stablecoins, Jewel Bank has innovated by making its bank the direct issuer of fully reserved one-to-one fiat-backed stablecoins issued against fiat deposits and regulated as a full bank.

Chancellor Barnett, Co-Founder, Chief Strategy Officer and Chairman of Jewel Bank said: "We are delighted to have partnered with Walkers on this matter and are grateful for their invaluable support and assistance throughout the process".

Walkers (Bermuda) Limited was led by partner Natalie Neto working in concert with senior counsel Rachel Nightingale.

Walkers Advises CK Asset Holdings on the US$4bn Sale of AMCK Aviation to Carlyle Aviation Partners

Walkers' Corporate M&A Group has acted as Irish counsel, alongside lead advisors Clifford Chance, on CK Asset Holdings' US$4bn sale of AMCK Aviation’s portfolio of aircraft to an investment vehicle managed by Carlyle Aviation Partners. The deal involved the sale of over 120 aircraft as well as an order book of 20 committed aircraft.

This was a strategic disposal for CK Asset Holdings, representing its exit from the aircraft leasing sector, with the working capital generated from the proceeds of sale enabling it to enhance its strategic focus during the pandemic. AMCK is a global aircraft leasing company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland with regional offices in Tokyo, Japan and Irvine, California.

The Walkers team was led by Corporate Group partner Brendan O'Brien working alongside Of Counsel Eoin Ryan and Associate Cal Kane, as well as Asset Finance partner Matt Hedigan.

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