Z. Julie Gao

Z. Julie Gao

Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Registered Foreign Lawyer (California), Corporate

Julie Gao is widely recognized as a preeminent corporate attorney in Asia and is a trusted, longtime adviser to many of the market-leading companies headquartered across the continent.

Bio

Ms. Gao has a diverse corporate practice representing public and private compa­nies, recognized private equity firms and global investment banks. Her representations have included a variety of capital markets transactions involving issuance of equity, convertible bonds and debt securities, as well as listing on the U.S., Hong Kong and Singapore stock exchanges, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, financial and strategic investments in public and private companies, MBOs, regulatory compliance and other corporate matters.

Ms. Gao is a member of Skadden’s Policy Committee, which is the firm’s highest governing body, and is head of the firm’s China practice. 

She has received numerous recognitions and accolades by various prestigious publications and organizations, including The American Lawyer, which previously named her as one of the 45 under 45 outstanding women lawyers globally, and The Wall Street Journal, which featured her in a 2019 article discussing her career and accomplishments in law. Ms. Gao also has been named a Law360 Capital Markets MVP, as well as an International Dealmaker of the Year, an International Law Firm Leader of the Year, an Asia Securities Lawyer of the Year and an Asia M&A Lawyer of the Year by multiple leading publications. She also has been selected for inclusion as a Band 1 lawyer in Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business for over a decade. 

Ms. Gao has advised on the IPOs and other capital markets transactions of over 100 compa­nies in a variety of industries, including the following:

  • Consumer: JD.com, JD Logistics, KE Holdings, Meituan, Miniso, Missfresh, Pinduoduo, RLX Technology, Trip.com Group, Vipshop, Xiaomi, Yatsen Holding, ZTO Express, AiHuiShou, Dada Nexus, Dangdang, E-House, Homeinns, Jumei, Leju, Mogu, Smart Global Share, Yunji, Viomi and Zepp Health.
  • Technology/Internet/Media: Autohome, Aurora Mobile, AutoNavi, AirMedia, Baidu, Bilibili, Bitauto, BlueCity, Cheetah Mobile, China Literature, Cootek, Dangdang, DiDi Global, iQiyi, Huya, Kanzhun (aka BOSS Zhipin), Meitu, Meituan, Mogu, Momo, NetEase, Perfect World, RDA Microelectronics, Renren, SINA, So-Young, Trip.com Group, Tuniu, uCloudlink, Uxin, Weibo, Xiaomi, Yidu Tech, Youku, Yunji, YY, Zhaopin, Zhihu, 58.com, and representing the underwriters: Bona Film, Chindata, Cloopen, Lizhi, Phoenix New Media and Tencent Music.
  • Education: New Oriental Education, TAL Education, Gaotu Techedu, iHuman, LAIX, Koolearn Technology, OneSmart Education, Tarena, Zhangmen Education, 17 Education, 51 Talk, and representing the underwriters: China Distance Learning, Four Seasons Education and Youdao.
  • Fintech: AMTD International, Bairong, China Renaissance, FinVolution, Futu, Jianpu, Jupai, LexinFintech, Linklogis, Pintec, VCredit, Lufax, Waterdrop, Yiren Digital, Yixin and ZhongAn Online Insurance.
  • Health Care: Everest Medicines, Genor Biopharma, Harbour BioMed, I-Mab, Innovent Biologics, JD Health, So-Young, Yidu Tech, ShangPharma, and representing the underwriters: CStone Pharmaceuticals, China Cord Blood, InnoCare Pharma and Pharmaron.
  • Renewable Energy: Li Auto, Nio, Niu Technologies, Daqo New Energy, and representing the underwriters: Gushan Environmental Energy and China Hydroelectric Corporation.

Ms. Gao’s representative M&A and private equity experience includes:

  • Baidu in multiple transactions, including its $1.9 billion private equity financing of its finance service group and $3.6 billion pending cash acquisition of YY Live, and the formation of Baidu Ventures and Baidu Capital;
  • Bytedance in its acquisitions of Musical.ly and Moonton, and private equity financings, valued at over $20 billion;
  • Didi Global in its acquisition of Uber China, merger with Kuaidi Taxi and over $5.5 billion private placement to Softbank;
  • JD.com in its acquisition of e-commerce businesses and assets from Tencent, spin-off of JD Finance, investment in Vipshop and PIPE issuance of shares to Google, valued at over $10 billion in total;
  • Meituan in its subsequent $3.3 billion series B preferred shares and $4 billion series C preferred shares financings, and its $2.7 billion acquisition of Mobike and other transactions, valued at over $10 billion in total;
  • Trip.com (formerly known as Ctrip.com) in its acquisition of shares of Qunar, acquisition of shares of eLong from Expedia, and strategic partnership with and issuance of convertible bonds to Priceline, valued at over $10 billion in total;
  • Youku Tudou in its $5.6 billion going-private all-cash transaction with Alibaba, $1.1 billion merger with Tudou, and $1.22 billion PIPE issuance of shares to Alibaba and Yunfeng Capital;
  • 58.com and other purchasers in their acquisition of Ganji.com, as well as 58.com in its equity and convertible bonds offerings to Tencent, and its going-private transaction, valued at over $15 billion in total;
  • the special committee of the board of directors of Perfect World and Qihoo 360 Technology in Perfect World’s $1.1 billion and Qihoo’s $9.3 billion going-private transactions;
  • Bitauto in its $1.55 billion equity issuance to JD.com and Tencent, its strategic transaction with AutoTrader and its privatization;
  • BTG Hotels and the buyer consortium in their $1.1 billion acquisition of Homeinns Group;
  • SINA and Weibo in connection with the sale of certain Weibo shares to Alibaba, SINA’s proxy contest and SINA’s $2.6 billion going private transaction;
  • TAL Education in connection with its $5 billion private equity financing with a group of investors;
  • Yixin Group in its over $1 billion equity and strategic transactions with a consortium including Baidu, JD.com and Tencent;
  • ZTO Express in connection with its $1.38 billion private equity financing and strategic cooperation with Alibaba and Cainiao;
  • AutoNavi, UCWeb, AdChina and their respective shareholders in their trade sale transactions with Alibaba, valued at several billion dollars in total;
  •  private equity financings of a number of companies, including Autonavi, Bilibili, Bytedance, China Renaissance, Dada Nexus, Didi Global, KE Holdings, InnoLight, JD.com, Leju, LAIX, Li Auto, Meituan, Nio, TAL Education, Yixin and ZTO Express; and
  • recognized private equity funds, including Ascendant Capital, Capital Group, Chengwei Capital, Hedosophia, Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital China and QIA, in their investment and disposition transactions.

Ms. Gao practiced in the Los Angeles office of a global law firm from 1998 to 2004. Prior to her law firm career, Ms. Gao served as an extern law clerk to the Hon. A. Wallace Tashima of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1998.

Credentials

Education

  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles
  • M.A., University of Alabama
  • LL.B., Peking University

Admissions

  • California

Z. Julie Gao

Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Registered Foreign Lawyer (California), Corporate

julie.gao@skadden.com