Kirkland & Ellis has hired a new finance partner to shore up its cross-border leveraged and acquisition financing expertise in Hong Kong.

David Irvine joins the firm from Linklaters where he had worked since 2001, relocating to Hong Kong in 2008.

His expertise covers multijurisdictional leveraged and acquisition financing transactions and a variety of structured, secured lending transactions including pre-IPO financings, project financings and restructurings.

In the past year he acted for a number of banks on a $1.3 billion loan to fund the buyout of Giant Interactive Group – a Chinese game developer – by a consortium made up of Baring Private Equity, Hony Capital and CDH Private Equity.

The move represents a series of recent hires for the US firm Kirkland and a spate of departures for the Magic Circle firm Linklaters in Asia.

Last year, Kirkland & Ellis strengthened its finance team with the London hire of Stephen Lucas from Weil Gotshal & Manges, and bolstered its restructuring and insolvency team by bringing in Neil McDonald and Damien Coles from Hogan Lovells. It also relocated Asia private equity head David Eich to London to strengthen its corporate relationships in Europe.

Apart from the latest departure, Linklaters has lost partners Jon Gray to Davis Polk & Wardwell in Tokyo; David Ludwick who left for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; and Peggy Wang who departed to White & Case. Also former Hong Kong counsel Kyungseok Kim joined White & Case to open up its new office in Seoul, South Korea.