deals

Former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom capital markets partner Christopher Betts has left the firm to become general counsel at Grab Holdings Inc, the largest ride-hailing and food delivery firm in Southeast Asia.

Betts' move comes after Skadden, along with Hughes Hubbard & Reed, said it had advised the Singapore-based delivery service on its record $40 billion blank-check merger with special purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth in April. Betts, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, was not listed as an adviser on Grab's SPAC merger.

The deal, which paves the way for a backdoor Nasdaq listing for Grab, is expected to close by the end of this year and will be the largest U.S. equity offering by a Southeast Asian company. Ropes & Gray is advising Altimeter, while Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr is representing Altimeter Capital Management and Altimeter Capital Markets.

Betts' move to join Grab as GC was first reflected publicly on his LinkedIn page. A spokesperson for the company could not immediately be reached for comment on the hire.

Betts, who spent nine years in Skadden's Hong Kong office, has made a name for himself in China-based capital markets and M&A transactions. His clients have included China Telecom, Citigroup, Google, Morgan Stanley, New Horizon Capital, Recruit, Tencent and Warburg Pincus, according to the Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries.

He has also advised Air China, China Maple Leaf, China Telecom and China Unicom in Hong Kong IPOs.

Prior to his time at Skadden, Betts was a partner at Paul Hastings for nearly two years. He has also served as an associate general counsel at consultancy McKinsey & Company, where he co-led the legal team covering the Asia Pacific region.

A spokesperson for Skadden was not immediately available to comment on Betts' departure.