Dr. Le Minh Phieu – Founder of LMP Lawyers: A Big Name in M&A Bottleneck Unblocking

Despite having gained numerous achievements in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) field, Dr. Le Minh Phieu always longs for an opportunity to face with more demanding and prominent M&A deals as a way to challenge his limits.

Nudges coming from the Resonance

Over the past decade, the Vietnamese market has welcomed a fresh and continuously expanding wave of investment in the form of M&A deals, plenty of which are worth more than tens of billion USD, making a strong impression on both domestic and foreign investors. The value of M&A transactions is confirmed to sharply increase in the near future as M&A is considered to be an effective tool for investors, businesses, and start-ups to re-strategize and mark themselves to the market.

Undoubtedly, M&A is one of the fastest and most effective ways for investors to enter new markets. A few decades ago, since the Vietnamese market was still in its infancy, establishing new companies would help foreign investors to approach the market. However, at this time, large enterprises of all industries and sectors have already presented in Vietnam, which makes starting a new business in Vietnam an unwise choice. As a result, M&A became a popular alternation.

For enterprises, M&A is a way to scale up businesses, increase market share, and receive resonance from investors. This resonance help enterprises enhance their value and be more efficient in doing business after each M&A deal. Besides, M&A plays the role of a “nudge” on start-ups to boost their competitiveness and development potential, thus might create a turning point for these start-ups to turn over a new leaf.

In this M&A playground, it would be remiss not to mention the role of consultants and lawyers. According to the experience of Mr. Andy Ho, Investment Director of Vinacapital, great consultants and lawyers are indispensable elements to support parties in implementing M&A. In order to select a qualified consultant who well understands the market, the parties to the deal is advised to ask the potential consultants for a list of 5 transactions they have consulted in the similar industry for reference.

LMP Lawyers led by Dr. Le Minh Phieu is a reliable choice to fulfill investors’ expectations.

“To me, a global citizen must be a person with richness and diversity of experience built up by accumulating knowledge and cultures from various countries around the world, who is able to live anywhere and work in any country”, the founder of LMP Lawyers started his story by sharing so. Throughout the conversation, he always mentioned his ambition to become a global citizen and make international level M&A deals.

Before establishing LMP Lawyers, Mr. Phieu had a doctorate in international trade law, graduated with honors from the University of Bordeaux (France) and worked for the largest law firm in Japan for many years. As a result, he soon had the opportunity to experience two opposite cultures. While in France, he lived in the heart of European culture full of liberty, open-mindedness and freedom, while working in Japan, he had the chance to shape his carefulness, detail-orientation and meticulousness, all of which are symbolic of Asian culture.

However, at that time, he was still not satisfied since he wanted to work with customers from many other countries. That’s the root cause led to the founding of his own law firm – LMP Lawyers.

So far, LMP Lawyers has become a well-known law firm, receiving the trust of countless clients from the Americas, Europe, and Asia…What makes Mr. Phieu interesting is that he always spot the difference and specificity of each culture to help his clients understand each other and effectively communicate with each other in order to achieve a common voice.

Therefore, LMP Lawyers has conquered plenty of big clients such as Mercedes, Pizza 4P’s, Galaxy Media, Thien Viet Securities, Fuji CAC and many enterprises, multinational corporations, and leading investment funds not only in Vietnam but also from abroad.

Always challenge your own limit

Though being very skillful and has successfully advised numerous M&A deals, Mr. Phieu finds the most interesting deal to him is a very discreet one between a company in the top 5 of the Japan paper industry investing in a leading Vietnam paper company in 2016. The situation of that transaction was very tense since plenty of controversial issues had already arisen between the parties. Moreover, the representative that the buyer appointed to solve the problem was the leading foreign law firm where Mr. Phieu used to worked with, which means that he had to directly negotiate with the lawyers who were his superiors.

In spite of this, with a professional working style and with the highest goal of completing the deal for his client, Mr. Phieu had tried every way for the parties to negotiate with each other again in the spirit of good faith. Finally, thanks to the combination of skills and knowledge gained in the field of legal, financial strategy, mediation…, the lawyers representing for both parties had led the deal to success.

Another deal that Mr. Phieu was equally satisfied with was the M&A deal between Duc Duong Technical and Trading Joint Stock Company (DDC) and Taihei Engineering Singapore, Pte. Ltd. – a subsidiary of Taihei Engineering Co., Ltd. In this deal, LMP Lawyers conducted legal due diligence for DDC; found and recommended Taihei to DDC; led the transaction, negotiated the price, carried out the transaction completion procedures and post-M&A integration, etc. These were the stages that require LMP Lawyers team to utilize intensive knowledge and skills in the field of M&A that average lawyers rarely have.

“Those M&A deals require me not only to have a thorough understanding of the whole case but also to have knowledge in various fields while at the same time must grasp the demand of the parties during the transaction so as to provide the most accurate and suitable solution for the client. I believe that is the core factor of a lawyer to mark his name to the market” said Mr. Phieu.

Since the early days of his legal career, Mr. Phieu has witnessed many businesses go bankrupt or fail due to lack of legal knowledge. Business owners often told Mr. Phieu that if they had met him earlier, they wouldn’t have ended up like this.

The role of a lawyer in the development and sustainability of a business is similar to that of a doctor in the health of a patient. As is well-known, it is essential to find yourself a right doctor as soon as possible, yet when it comes to lawyers, not as many people can understand the same.

In fact, many business owners have already sold their whole business to their partner while the contracts, procedures, and so on were not done properly. Only by making a small deposit, the partner was able to sign all legal documents, keep the seal, take over the business, and then never pays the rest. As a result, the business owner lost his entire career, which would certainly not have happened if he had been well consulted by a lawyer.

There are also other owners struggling to develop their businesses because they do not know how to; or they may face with “bottlenecks” that slow down the development process. A good lawyer will know how to unblock those “bottlenecks” and help businesses to be more confident with their new structures.

In many cases, the business limitation lies in the limit of its owner’s mentality and their willingness to do and accept the risk. If the lawyers can advise them on a new overall structure covering various aspects of the business, they will be encouraged to be confident in adopting that structure and the business will thrive.

“I might say that being by the owners’ side to help them identify risks as well as actively take preventive and remedial measures while doing their business is my passion” said Mr. Phieu. He also shared that the mission of LMP Lawyers is to ensure businesses and entrepreneurs avoid failure due to legal issues, thereby based on their own potential to safely and sustainably break through their limits in M&A deals.

Nevertheless, Mr. Phieu admitted, the most difficult thing when carrying out the above mission is that not all entrepreneurs and business owners come to him. He believes that once a client has come to him, he will fulfill that mission for the best interest of his client.

The inspiration comes from arduous undertaking

One of the M&A deals that still inspires Mr. Phieu until this day is the stressful one in which he was the buyer’s representative. In that deal, since the parties could not find a common voice, they almost said goodbye to walk away from the negotiation.

At that time, Mr. Phieu told himself that he had stayed up all night to review the contract, so he could not let the parties leave empty-handed.

With that in mind, he tried to convince the parties to negotiate again. He offered a new option with explanations and persuasion for the parties to understand each other’s thoughts and views. As a result, the parties decided to sign the contract and the deal was successful beyond expectations.

In that deal, not only did the clients achieve their goals, but Mr. Phieu also gained himself treasured life lessons, the most important of which is to keep trying until the last minute and never think of giving up. This is what he always encourages anyone he has the opportunity to communicate with.

The members of LMP Lawyers are quite young. To lead that team, Mr. Phieu had to train himself every day. He understands more than anyone else the importance of mastering legal knowledge to skillfully apply it in practice. That is the explanation for LMP Lawyers core objective – to train its members to be accurate, agile, effective and creative problem solvers.

What makes LMP Lawyers as well as its foundezr Le Minh Phieu memorable to their partners and the public are their dedication and efficiency in performing legal service. Therefore, up to now, new clients mostly know about LMP Lawyers from word of mouth or from introductions of former clients and trusted partners of LMP Lawyers. This is how Mr. Phieu brands himself as well as LMP Lawyers.  In the future, Mr. Phieu and LMP Lawyers are expected to be “a force to be reckoned with” in many more popular M&A deals and resonance in the international investment field.


By Anh Hoa

Source: Bao Dau Tu – 13/08/2022



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