Home / People / Babita Ambekar
Portrait of Babita Ambekar

Babita Ambekar

Partner
Head of India Desk, Singapore

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
London
EC4N 6AF
United Kingdom
Languages English, Gujarati, Marathi, Japanese, Mandarin, Hindi, French

Babita is a partner, based in our Singapore office, specialising in cross border M&A, capital raising, new market entry, joint ventures and restructurings across Asia Pacific.

Babita has an established track record in advising on cross-border transactions and her sectors of focus include: technology, with a specific interest in FinTech, HealthTech, Food & AgriTech and InsurTech, renewable energy, healthcare and life sciences and retail, food & hospitality. Her clients include publicly listed entities, multinational conglomerates and regional entities. 

Babita has over 20 years of experience in Asia Pacific and has worked on matters involving Singapore, Japan, India, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal, Malaysia, Korea, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, Thailand and Vietnam.

Prior to joining CMS, Babita was the Global Head of India Practice at another international law firm. She is ranked in India Business Law Journal’s A-List 2020 as one of the top 100 India-focused legal practitioners globally and has been recognised as Non-resident Indian Lawyer of the Year by the Indian National Bar Association.

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Recognised as "Responsible, knowledgeable and solution-oriented" in The Legal 500 2019 rankings.

Legal 500, 2019

Ranked in India Business Law Journal’s A-List 2020 as one of the top 100 India-focused legal practitioners globally.

India Business Law Journal

Recommended in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Asialaw Profiles in the categories of Corporate / M&A, Energy & Resources and India.

Legal 500

Described in the 2019 Client Feedback Survey by AsiaLaw as having “Impressive handling skills. Excellent negotiator too.”

AsiaLaw Client Feedback Survey, 2019

Referenced by clients as a “seasoned, mature and capable lawyer [who is] dependable, effective and quick to respond.”

Ambekar, Babita, feedback from clients

Relevant experience

  • Krazybee, one of the largest online lending platforms in India, on its investment round involving a Hong Kong headquartered entity.
  • A minority shareholder in relation to the sale by Axiata of a 10% stake in its Cambodian telecommunications entity to Mitsui. 
  • A global renewable energy developer and investor on its acquisition of a majority stake in a Southeast Asian solar business.
  • Barilla Group on regional commercial and regulatory matters across Asia Pacific.
  • HCL Infosystems on intragroup acquisitions and disposals in conjunction with the divestment of part of its Singapore business to PCCW.
  • A Government of India Enterprise involved in the exploration and production business, on Myanmar market entry-related aspects.
  • Prathamesh Solar Farms, a joint venture between Ostro Energy and Suzlon, on international aspects in relation to a solar power project in Telangana, India.
  • Uncharted, an InsurTech start-up, on its funding round, establishment of ESOP and various other corporate and commercial matters.    
  • A retail group on its global reorganisation, involving entities in the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Middle East, Indonesia and the USA. 
  • Cadila Healthcare Limited, on various regional market entry and distribution matters.
  • Nexus Venture Partners in relation to its investment in nektar.ai.
  • A Japan-focused private equity fund on its acquisition and sale of various hospitality projects in Osaka and Kyoto.  
  • Cityneon on its licensing arrangements with Marvel and Hasbro, local partner joint venture initiatives and various other corporate matters.
  • GlobeOne, a financial services intermediary, on a multi-jurisdictional project to determine the legal and regulatory framework for its services in several emerging and mature markets.    
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Publications

  • 2020 - “A Comparison of Energy Sector Regulations”, Asia Business Law Journal.
  • 2018 - “Singapore as a Hub for Indian Investments”, published in the Special Edition of “India Global Business” for UK-India Week.
  • 2018 - “Regional Developments in E-Commerce Law in Southeast Asia”.
  • 2018 - Contributor, “Investment: A Two Way Street” India’s Next Leap Forward. Essays on its Socio-Economy”.     
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Lectures list

  • 2020 - Accelerating Your Digital Strategy: Legal Implications.
  • 2020 - Consumer Goods: Trends, Opportunities and Operations.
  • 2019 - Trends in Regional M&A.
  • 2019 - Indian Multinationals and Global Innovators.
  • 2018 - Legal Perspectives on Blockchain.
  • 2016 - Choice of law in Regional Mergers and Acquisitions.
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Education

  • 2014 - Indian Business Law, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
  • 2002 - Intensive course in Mandarin language studies: Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing.
  • 2002 - Putonghua Parts 1-3 at the British Council Hong Kong,  Hong Kong.
  • 2001 - Solicitor, England and Wales.
  • 1998 - Legal Practice Course: College of Law, London.
  • 1997 - BA (Hons) Law & Criminology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield. 
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Feed

31/01/2022
Time for trans­ition: En­ergy M&A 2022
While world lead­ers have been gath­er­ing for COP meet­ings for dec­ades, what made COP26 per­haps par­tic­u­larly not­able is that the private sec­tor also gathered in force, and with a com­mit­ment and de­term­in­a­tion to be a key driver in the de­car­bon­isa­tion of the world’s eco­nom­ies.  In pre­vi­ous years, there have been mur­mur­ings from vari­ous cor­por­ates that to make so­cial or en­vir­on­ment­ally driv­en in­vest­ment de­cisions may not align with their fi­du­ciary duty to act in the in­terests of share­hold­ers. As share­hold­er act­iv­ism has driv­en the de­bate in­to board­rooms from above, this at­ti­tude is rap­idly re­vers­ing dir­ec­tion. While re­turns are gen­er­ally seen as lower in the clean sec­tor com­pared to, say, the oil & gas sec­tor, be­ing in­ves­ted in the green trans­ition is in­creas­ingly seen as a key route to pre­serving and pro­tect­ing share­hold­er value. At the same time, vol­un­tary and man­dat­ory cli­mate re­lated dis­clos­ures are align­ing the drivers for in­vestors across the board so that cap­it­al is in­creas­ingly driv­en by the met­rics they pro­duce.  This is be­ing re­flec­ted in, among oth­er things, the plum­met­ing cost of cap­it­al for green in­vest­ments. At the same time high car­bon in­tens­ive in­vest­ments, such as coal based pro­jects and busi­nesses, are strug­gling to se­cure fund­ing, with many fa­cing in­solv­ency. In­vest­ments in the en­ergy trans­ition, a key part of the green trans­ition, will prin­cip­ally take the form of M&A. The out­come of COP26 and the mo­mentum it has gen­er­ated means that European deal­makers in the en­ergy sec­tor will be even busier in 2022. Europe leads the world in the en­ergy trans­ition and the race to net zero is driv­ing near-re­cord levels of deal­mak­ing – not­ably in wind and sol­ar photo­vol­ta­ic gen­er­a­tion.At the same time, the en­ergy trans­ition is both ex­pand­ing and frag­ment­ing the en­ergy sec­tor. For many, it has tra­di­tion­ally been fo­cused on en­ergy gen­er­a­tion. The trans­ition is bring­ing to the fore less vis­ible tech­no­lo­gies. Everything from tra­di­tion­al hy­dro­power to grid-scale bat­ter­ies, elec­tri­fic­a­tion of trans­port and hy­dro­gen. It is also bring­ing in­to the mix sec­tors that have not tra­di­tion­ally been fo­cused on en­ergy, such as in­dus­tri­al de­car­bon­isa­tion, ship­ping and min­ing for the nat­ur­al re­sources needed for the en­ergy trans­ition. In par­al­lel with this, there is a huge and grow­ing story around en­ergy trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion. Elec­tri­city net­works will need to ex­pand massively to fa­cil­it­ate elec­tri­fic­a­tion and new tech­no­lo­gies. They are also be­com­ing smarter with the use of di­git­al tech­no­logy to op­tim­ise the way power is dis­trib­uted, traded and con­sumed. Fur­ther, new types of net­works may provide in­vest­ment op­por­tun­it­ies for those look­ing for stable long term as­sets, such as hy­dro­gen and car­bon net­works.Against this back­ground, tra­di­tion­al fossil fuel-based play­ers are de­car­bon­ising their op­er­a­tions. For the oil and gas ma­jors, this means ac­quir­ing or sig­ni­fic­antly en­han­cing their cap­ab­il­it­ies in re­new­ables, in­clud­ing wind, sol­ar and hy­dro­gen, while sim­ul­tan­eously di­vest­ing se­lec­ted car­bon-in­tens­ive as­sets in re­sponse to mount­ing ESG pres­sures. This may be one of the reas­ons why 50% of re­spond­ents in our study point to dis­tress-driv­en deals as a top sell-side driver.Change is en­dem­ic in the en­ergy sec­tor, but the cur­rent trans­ition makes the years since lib­er­al­isa­tion of en­ergy mar­kets in the late 1980s seem al­most steady-state in com­par­is­on. Des­pite the mo­mentum and push for cap­it­al to be in­ves­ted in the en­ergy trans­ition, there re­main obstacles, not least the lim­ited pipeline of good qual­ity in­vest­ment op­por­tun­it­ies, con­tinu­ing con­cerns over lock­downs and COV­ID-19 vari­ants, fin­an­cing dif­fi­culties arising from po­ten­tially un­stable long term rev­en­ue streams and di­min­ish­ing rates of re­turn. Not­with­stand­ing these chal­lenges, our study finds that en­ergy sec­tor M&A will in­creas­ingly be an en­gine driv­ing cap­it­al in­to pro­pos­i­tions that match so­cial and polit­ic­al am­bi­tions for the green trans­ition. Key find­ings  En­ergy re­mains a premi­um as­set class for most in­sti­tu­tion­al in­vestors, with its per­form­ance dur­ing the pan­dem­ic and im­petus from COP26 fur­ther en­han­cing its at­tract­ive­ness75% of en­ergy com­pan­ies are con­sid­er­ing an ac­quis­i­tion and/or di­vest­ment in 2022Along­side premi­um as­sets, in some sub­sect­ors there are un­der­val­ued tar­gets driv­ing buy-side activ­ity, with sellers shed­ding dis­tressed as­sets as the sec­tor shifts in re­sponse to the en­ergy trans­ition45% think COV­ID-19 will be a ma­jor M&A obstacle in 2022, but this re­mains a flu­id situ­ation that can change rap­idly
31/01/2022
Time for trans­ition: En­ergy M&A 2022
While world lead­ers have been gath­er­ing for COP meet­ings for dec­ades, what made COP26 per­haps par­tic­u­larly not­able is that the private sec­tor also gathered in force, and with a com­mit­ment and de­term­in­a­tion to be a key driver in the de­car­bon­isa­tion of the world’s eco­nom­ies.  In pre­vi­ous years, there have been mur­mur­ings from vari­ous cor­por­ates that to make so­cial or en­vir­on­ment­ally driv­en in­vest­ment de­cisions may not align with their fi­du­ciary duty to act in the in­terests of share­hold­ers. As share­hold­er act­iv­ism has driv­en the de­bate in­to board­rooms from above, this at­ti­tude is rap­idly re­vers­ing dir­ec­tion. While re­turns are gen­er­ally seen as lower in the clean sec­tor com­pared to, say, the oil & gas sec­tor, be­ing in­ves­ted in the green trans­ition is in­creas­ingly seen as a key route to pre­serving and pro­tect­ing share­hold­er value. At the same time, vol­un­tary and man­dat­ory cli­mate re­lated dis­clos­ures are align­ing the drivers for in­vestors across the board so that cap­it­al is in­creas­ingly driv­en by the met­rics they pro­duce.  This is be­ing re­flec­ted in, among oth­er things, the plum­met­ing cost of cap­it­al for green in­vest­ments. At the same time high car­bon in­tens­ive in­vest­ments, such as coal based pro­jects and busi­nesses, are strug­gling to se­cure fund­ing, with many fa­cing in­solv­ency. In­vest­ments in the en­ergy trans­ition, a key part of the green trans­ition, will prin­cip­ally take the form of M&A. The out­come of COP26 and the mo­mentum it has gen­er­ated means that European deal­makers in the en­ergy sec­tor will be even busier in 2022. Europe leads the world in the en­ergy trans­ition and the race to net zero is driv­ing near-re­cord levels of deal­mak­ing – not­ably in wind and sol­ar photo­vol­ta­ic gen­er­a­tion.At the same time, the en­ergy trans­ition is both ex­pand­ing and frag­ment­ing the en­ergy sec­tor. For many, it has tra­di­tion­ally been fo­cused on en­ergy gen­er­a­tion. The trans­ition is bring­ing to the fore less vis­ible tech­no­lo­gies. Everything from tra­di­tion­al hy­dro­power to grid-scale bat­ter­ies, elec­tri­fic­a­tion of trans­port and hy­dro­gen. It is also bring­ing in­to the mix sec­tors that have not tra­di­tion­ally been fo­cused on en­ergy, such as in­dus­tri­al de­car­bon­isa­tion, ship­ping and min­ing for the nat­ur­al re­sources needed for the en­ergy trans­ition. In par­al­lel with this, there is a huge and grow­ing story around en­ergy trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion. Elec­tri­city net­works will need to ex­pand massively to fa­cil­it­ate elec­tri­fic­a­tion and new tech­no­lo­gies. They are also be­com­ing smarter with the use of di­git­al tech­no­logy to op­tim­ise the way power is dis­trib­uted, traded and con­sumed. Fur­ther, new types of net­works may provide in­vest­ment op­por­tun­it­ies for those look­ing for stable long term as­sets, such as hy­dro­gen and car­bon net­works.Against this back­ground, tra­di­tion­al fossil fuel-based play­ers are de­car­bon­ising their op­er­a­tions. For the oil and gas ma­jors, this means ac­quir­ing or sig­ni­fic­antly en­han­cing their cap­ab­il­it­ies in re­new­ables, in­clud­ing wind, sol­ar and hy­dro­gen, while sim­ul­tan­eously di­vest­ing se­lec­ted car­bon-in­tens­ive as­sets in re­sponse to mount­ing ESG pres­sures. This may be one of the reas­ons why 50% of re­spond­ents in our study point to dis­tress-driv­en deals as a top sell-side driver.Change is en­dem­ic in the en­ergy sec­tor, but the cur­rent trans­ition makes the years since lib­er­al­isa­tion of en­ergy mar­kets in the late 1980s seem al­most steady-state in com­par­is­on. Des­pite the mo­mentum and push for cap­it­al to be in­ves­ted in the en­ergy trans­ition, there re­main obstacles, not least the lim­ited pipeline of good qual­ity in­vest­ment op­por­tun­it­ies, con­tinu­ing con­cerns over lock­downs and COV­ID-19 vari­ants, fin­an­cing dif­fi­culties arising from po­ten­tially un­stable long term rev­en­ue streams and di­min­ish­ing rates of re­turn. Not­with­stand­ing these chal­lenges, our study finds that en­ergy sec­tor M&A will in­creas­ingly be an en­gine driv­ing cap­it­al in­to pro­pos­i­tions that match so­cial and polit­ic­al am­bi­tions for the green trans­ition. Key find­ings  En­ergy re­mains a premi­um as­set class for most in­sti­tu­tion­al in­vestors, with its per­form­ance dur­ing the pan­dem­ic and im­petus from COP26 fur­ther en­han­cing its at­tract­ive­ness75% of en­ergy com­pan­ies are con­sid­er­ing an ac­quis­i­tion and/or di­vest­ment in 2022Along­side premi­um as­sets, in some sub­sect­ors there are un­der­val­ued tar­gets driv­ing buy-side activ­ity, with sellers shed­ding dis­tressed as­sets as the sec­tor shifts in re­sponse to the en­ergy trans­ition45% think COV­ID-19 will be a ma­jor M&A obstacle in 2022, but this re­mains a flu­id situ­ation that can change rap­idly
08/11/2021
ESO­Ps and Bal­an­cing Key Stake­hold­er In­terests
This art­icle is pro­duced by CMS Hol­born Asia, a Form­al Law Al­li­ance between CMS Singa­pore and Hol­born Law LLC. As the South East Asi­an start-up and emer­ging com­pany scene con­tin­ues to rap­idly ex­pand and...
21/09/2021
Singa­pore and UK strengthen co­oper­a­tion in fin­an­cial ser­vices
This art­icle is pro­duced by CMS Hol­born Asia, a Form­al Law Al­li­ance between CMS Singa­pore and Hol­born Law LLC. In­tro­duc­tion On 30 June 2021, Singa­pore and the UK entered in­to a land­mark part­ner­ship for...
13/04/2021
The Fu­ture of Food: What makes Singa­pore an at­tract­ive des­tin­a­tion for...
This art­icle is pro­duced by CMS Hol­born Asia, a Form­al Law Al­li­ance between CMS Singa­pore and Hol­born Law LLC. In­tro­duc­tion Singa­pore has a bur­geon­ing Ag­ri­FoodTech eco­sys­tem. As the first coun­try glob­ally...