Jaewoo Lee is managing partner of Ropes & Gray’s Seoul office and a partner in the firm’s private equity / M&A practice groups. Jaewoo guides sophisticated investors, companies and financial institutions in cross-border private equity and M&A transactions with a connection to Korea. He regularly works with the world’s leading private equity sponsors on their inbound investments, and advises Korean clients on key outbound M&A and other transactions.
Clients seek out Jaewoo for his practical, business-minded advice and tireless commitment to delivering high-quality results. Jaewoo’s perspective is shaped by more than 15 years of experience in Korea-related M&A dealmaking on the ground in Asia. He has been called “one of the best M&A lawyers in the Korean market” and “a remarkable M&A deal attorney” by clients in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Chambers Global, respectively. Jaewoo is ranked Band 1 in both Chambers Global and Chambers Asia-Pacific.
- Advised Bain Capital in its acquisition of a majority stake in Classys, a South Korea-based skincare device maker.
- Advised Bain Capital in multiple notable deals, including the Bain consortium’s acquisition and subsequent US$2.6 billion sale of Carver Korea Co., Ltd. (named “Exit of the Year: Large Cap” at 2018 AVCJ Private Equity & Venture Capital Awards), and its acquisition and subsequent US$1 billion+ sale of a controlling stake in Hugel Inc., a South Korean biopharmaceutical company.
- Advised TPG Capital in multiple notable deals, including its US$400+ million investment in Kakao Corporation’s transport / taxi app business, Kakao Mobility and its investment in Moleem Corporation, a Korean building materials company.
- Advised E-Mart, Inc. in its acquisition of Shafer Vineyards, a U.S. winery.
- Advised E-Mart, Inc. in its US$3 billion acquisition of eBay’s businesses in South Korea.
- Advised Bain Capital Credit in its investment in convertible bonds issued by PeopleFund, a Korean P2P lending startup company.
- Advised Bain Capital Credit in its mezzanine loan and warrant investment in INSPIRE Integrated Resort Co., Ltd. as part of a greenfield casino & resort development project in South Korea.
- Advised Bain Capital Credit in its minority investment in K-Bank, South Korea's first online-only bank.
- Advised Bain Capital Credit in its minority investment in Douzone Bizon, a leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) software developer in South Korea.
- Advised Bain Capital Credit in its investment in ST Unitas, a leading Korean edu-tech company.
- Advised KKR in its minority equity investment in Hyundai Global Service, a marine services firm in South Korea.
- Advised Mirae Asset and Naver in their US$150 million investment (through a joint fund, Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth PEF) into Grab Holdings Inc., a Singapore-based ride-hailing company.
- Advised Johnson Electric in its US$ multi-million acquisition of a controlling equity stake in Halla Stackpole, a Korean auto parts manufacturer.
- Advised Netmarble Games Corporation in its US$ multi-million acquisition of a 100% stake of the Vancouver Studio business of Kabam Inc., a mobile game company headquartered in San Francisco. This is the largest outbound M&A deal to date in South Korea’s mobile game industry and one of the most significant software tech M&A deals for Korea.
- Advised Naver Corporation in multiple cross-border JV transactions, including in its proposed establishment of joint ventures in China for various app services.
- Advised the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (“CPPIB”) in its acquisition of an approximately 20% stake in Homeplus, Tesco’s South Korean business, for US$534 million as part of the consortium led by MBK Partners.
- Advised Korea Investment Corporation, Korea’s sovereign wealth fund, in various equity investments worldwide.
- Profiled, “10 years of Ropes & Gray, built on the trust of its private equity corporate clients,” Thebell (September 13, 2022)
- Profiled, “Jaewoo Lee, New Managing Partner of Ropes & Gray Seoul Office,” Law Times (August 29, 2022)
- Noted, “Hires Across Asia for Howse Williams, Ashurst, CAM and Haiwen,” Law.com (August 12, 2022)
- Profiled, “Strategic M&A dominates Korean Dealmaking,” FinanceAsia (August 9, 2022)
- Profiled, “Jaewoo Lee Appointed Ropes & Gray’s Seoul Managing Partner,” Legal Times (August 8, 2022)
- Profiled, “Ropes & Gray Promotes Deals Partner to Lead Seoul Office,” Law360 (August 8, 2022)
- Noted, “Wake Up Call,” Bloomberg Law (August 8, 2022)
- Profiled, “Ropes & Gray promotes Jaewoo Lee to managing partner in Seoul office,” AltAssets (August 8, 2022)
- Quoted, “South Korea’s PE exits to elevate this year amid macro uncertainty” Mergermarket (February 10, 2020)
- Quoted, “Korean Economics, M&A, and PE Exits: Seller Central” Asian Venture Capital Journal (August 23, 2016)
- Quoted, “Korean outbound M&A: Satisfied partners?” Asian Venture Capital Journal (September 3, 2014)
- JD, New York University School of Law, 2001
- BBA, Seoul National University, 1997
Admissions / Qualifications
- Korea, Registered Foreign Legal Consultant for U.S. Law, 2014
- Hong Kong, Solicitor, 2010
- New York, 2004
- California, 2002
- Chambers Asia-Pacific: Leading Individual for Corporate/M&A in South Korea - Band 1 (2019-2022)
- Chambers Global: Leading Individual for Corporate/M&A in South Korea - Band 1 (2019-2022)
- Legal 500 Asia-Pacific: Leading Individual for “Corporate and M&A: Foreign Firms” in South Korea (2017-2022)
- IFLR1000: “Highly Regarded” for M&A and Private Equity in South Korea (2019-2023)
- Asia Business Law Journal - The A List: Korea’s Top 100 Lawyers (2019)