CU link Newsletter

04 October 2007

M&A team shows its strength

Key Points:

A strategic investment in our people and client relationships has contributed to Clayton Utz’ outstanding year in M&A, which also saw us achieve a leading position in the most recent Thomson Financial Australian M&A league tables.

Clayton Utz was ranked second in both Announced and Completed deals, with 51 deals valued at over US$29.8 billion and 59 deals worth US$26 billion respectively – our best performance in years.

Commenting on the announcement, M&A partners Rod Halstead and Michael Parshall said Clayton Utz’ results were a reflection of the firm’s solid investment in its M&A, private equity and acquisition finance teams.

"We've experienced a fast-moving market in terms of deal volumes, complexity and innovation. To meet this challenge, we’ve invested heavily in the right people across our offices nationally – people who are leaders in their fields, who understand our clients' businesses and industries intimately and who have the commercial judgment and execution skills to match the challenges of today's complex M&A environment," Michael said.

Rod Halstead, who heads Clayton Utz' M&A practice nationally, added: "Over recent years we have made a number of key lateral appointments, including, among others, Philip Kapp in private equity and Michael Riches in acquisition finance. We are now seeing the results of that investment across the board. We have also benefited from organic growth with a very strong team of senior lawyers coming through. The depth of talent spread nationally across our offices is outstanding and I expect the team to go from strength to strength."

Clayton Utz has been involved in several high-profile transactions this year, including many that evolved from long-standing relationships with key clients.

For example, the firm's Melbourne and Sydney offices advised on Toll's US$5.7 billion demerger – involving the strategic restructure and spin-off of its infrastructure assets into a new company, Asciano Limited – one of the top completed deals of 2007.

The firm has also continued to work alongside Mayne Group spin-offs Symbion Health and Mayne Pharma as they participate in ongoing consolidation in the healthcare sector. The firm is advising Symbion Health on its proposed merger with Healthscope and sale of businesses to Ironbridge and Archer. Earlier in the year the firm completed the A$2.6 billion plus sale of Mayne Pharma to US-based hospital products manufacturer Hospira.

Also among some of the larger transactions this year, Clayton Utz is advising Brookfield Asset Management on its proposed acquisition of the Multiplex Group and longstanding client CanWest on the restructure of its interest in the Ten Network. M&A Partners Michael Reede, Kate Jordan, Michael Parshall and John Elliott are advising Macquarie Media Group on its proposed acquisition of Southern Cross Broadcasting (Australia) (SBC) and separate arrangement with Fairfax Media, involving the transfer of assets between the two companies, following the SBC acquisition.

The firm's Brisbane office was also kept very active, advising Transpacific Industries on its A$1.2 billion acquisition of Cleanaway and its earlier acquisition of Twigg Group and Baxter Group in 2007 and Waste Management in 2006.

Rod said the firm's complementary strengths in private equity, leveraged finance and traditional industry M&A were a real asset.

"There is no doubt that private equity has been the hot topic this year, but it is only part of the M&A story," Rod says. "We are pleased to have been involved in a number of the stellar private equity deals, however most of the completed transactions this year were a result of more traditional M&A activity in sectors ripe for consolidation."

Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin. Persons listed may not be admitted in all states or territories.