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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (‘‘ASEAN’’) encompasses the countries of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao (PDR), Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. [ASEAN Member States, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, www.asean.org (Jan. 28, 2016, 6:14pm).] This area within Asia has become home to a wave of new economic and commercial initiatives, which are set to firmly place Asia at the epicenter of cross-border trade and economic growth. [Kanishk Verghese, Opportunity Beckons, Asian Legal Business, January 28, 2016, at www.legalbusinessonline.com.] M&A activity in the Asia-Pacific region reached new heights in 2015, with numerous multibillion dollar deals keeping businesses, bankers, and lawyers on their toes. According to Thomson Reuters’ data, M&A volume in Asia (excluding Japan) in 2015 hit the trillion dollar mark for the first time in history, within US$1.165 trillion, a whopping 59 percent increase from the US$731.3 billion recorded in 2014. This boom can be attributed to ‘‘the strong cash positions held by Asian companies, cheaper asset valuations in overseas markets, and a ravenous appetite for expansion.’’
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