Corporate and M&A in New Zealand

Bell Gully

Bell Gully has a corporate practice that is 'second to none in NZ', according to one client, who notes that 'their service to clients is exceptional and their technical expertise of top international standard'. Consistently involved in many market-leading deals, the firm recently advised Vodafone Group on its sale of Vodafone New Zealand to a consortium of Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management Limited for NZ$3.4bn, one of the country's largest-ever transactions. Competition law partner Torrin Crowther in Auckland and energy sector specialist David Coull in Wellington oversee the 16-partner practice. Auckland-based partners Anna Buchly, James Gibson, Brynn Gilbertson, Haydn Wong, Glenn Joblin, the newly promoted Jennifer Coote and, in Wellington, firm deputy chair Amon Nunns are among the firm's standout practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Torrin Crowther; David Coull

Testimonials

‘Bell Gully’s corporate team is second to none in NZ. Their service to clients is exceptional and their technical expertise of top international standard.’

‘Brynn Gilbertson is a statesman of corporate law in NZ. A steady and wise guiding hand to his clients, with a supreme depth of knowledge and understanding of the law.’

‘Jenn Coote is an up-and-coming junior partner with a sharp and enquiring mind. James Cooney provides insightful and commercial advice. Highly recommended.’

‘They provide very strong commercial perspective, with pragmatic solutions.’

‘They try to think ahead to potential pitfalls both from a negotiating position but also deal execution perspective.’

‘The firm provides a thoughtful, comprehensive service that considers the wider aspects of our business. Good depth of experience and a full-service team.’

‘David Coull is not afraid to challenge the question being asked to ensure that we are truly getting value from the advice.’

‘Bell Gully is consistently commercial, pragmatic and strong in its M&A capabilities. The local and international knowledge and expertise across corporate, technology, data and privacy is invaluable.’

‘Bell Gully’s advice is also succinct and actionable and the team are always are pleasure to work with.’

‘We don’t have an in-house legal team, so utilise Bell Gully’s expertise across a broad range of legal fields. Bell Gully partners are available to us at short notice and provide high-quality advice.’

‘We have had particularly strong advice from Torrin Crowther with regard to competition issues, and he is a nationwide leader in this field.’

‘The firm is known for excellent responsiveness and turnaround times. They know and understand our business intimately. They are easy to deal with and provide practical, strategic, results-based advice.’

‘Toby Sharpe is an extremely knowledgeable corporate lawyer. He is incredibly responsive to our needs as a business. He has a deep knowledge of the law and is able to distil complicated concepts into easy to understand, practical solutions. He has a “can do” attitude which makes briefing them a pleasure.’

Key clients

Vodafone Group Plc

Apax Partners LLP

Fletcher Building Limited

Resolution Life Group Holdings Limited

Westland Co-operative Dairy Company Limited

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Port of Napier Limited

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd

Skycity Entertainment Group

Rugbypass

GWA Group Limited

Investore Property Limited

Synlait Milk Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Vodafone Group Plc on its sale of Vodafone New Zealand Limited to a consortium of Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management Limited for NZ$3.4bn, making it one of the largest New Zealand M&A transactions on record.
  • Advised British private equity firm Apax Partners LLP on their successful bid for New Zealand’s largest e-commerce company, Trade Me, for NZ$2.56bn.
  • Acted for Fletcher Building Limited on multiple transactions including the sale of Formica Group by Fletcher Building. Fletcher Building has entered into a sale agreement to sell the Formica Group to Broadview Holding BV (a member of HAL Trust group, which is listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange) for US$840m (NZ$1.266bn) as part of Fletcher Building’s strategy to exit its non-core businesses.

Chapman Tripp

Chapman Tripp is an acknowledged market leader and, with 18 partners, has one of the largest corporate practices in New Zealand. The firm is frequently involved in significant cross-border deals, acting for all domestic and many international private equity funds, as well as for major corporates. The firm also has a stellar record in equity capital markets transactions, including pre-offer structuring, IPOs and secondary capital raisings. Highly regarded M&A partner Tim Tubman leads the practice from Auckland, where the firm has a deep bench of talent. John Strowger is a long-standing market leader, while Roger Wallis, Rachel Dunne and Pip England are among the firm's standout practitioners. Up-and-coming partners Joshua Pringle and Lauren Curtayne are also highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Tim Tubman

Key clients

ANZ

AMP

Mercury Energy

PGG Wrightson

Fonterra Co-operative

Kathmandu Holdings Limited

Sky

Vector Limited

Augusta Group

Z Energy

Work highlights

  • Advised Fonterra on the NZ$380m sale of its ice cream business, Tip Top.
  • Advised Infratil on the consortium it formed with Brookfield Asset Management in order to purchase the New Zealand arm of Vodafone.
  • Advised on the NZ$234m NZX listing and initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Napier Port.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts

MinterEllisonRuddWatts has a 14-partner corporate practice that handles many of the deals at the forefront of the market for high-profile clients. Covering the full range of transactional, capital markets and advisory work, the firm has many highly respected individuals in its ranks. Among them are Silvana Schenone who leads the Auckland corporate group and Rodney Craig who leads the practice in Wellington. In Auckland, partners Mark Stuart, Cameron Taylor and Neil Millar, who has 'a great attitude, style and sense of humour', are standout practitioners. Senior associate Igor Drinkovic is also recommended and  Sarah Salmond joined as a partner from Russell McVeagh. In Wellington, John Conlan is recommended for cross-border deals. Cathy Quinn is now a consultant.

Practice head(s):

Silvana Schenone; Rodney Craig

Testimonials

‘The team worked very effectively together and all members were competent.’

‘Neil Millar brought a great attitude, style and sense of humour to our engagement. I thought his pragmatism and style came across from our very first meeting. I thought he was exceptional throughout the engagement.’

Key clients

Froneri / Peters Ice Cream

Verifone

Davanti Consulting

Habit Group Holdings Limited

Brookfield Capital (Australia) Pty Ltd

MediaWorks Investments Limited

Tourism Holdings Limited

Cin7 Limited

Brookfield Asset Management Limited

Spark

Work highlights

  • Advised Froneri on their acquisition of Tip Top through its Australian ice-cream subsidiary, Peter’s Ice Cream. This extended to due diligence, competitive bidding and negotiations to finalise the agreement.
  • Advised on the New Zealand aspects of Brookfield Asset Management acquisition of Healthscope. In addition to our routine advice on Brookfield’s OIO consent application, due diligence of the New Zealand business, and review of transaction documentation, we also advised on issues associated with the agreements with the DHBs (and assisted with DHB negotiations), and the extension of the rollover equity offer to New Zealand shareholders.
  • Advised Brookfield Asset Management on its shareholding arrangements in respect of the acquisition of Vodafone New Zealand by a consortium comprising Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management for NZ$3.4 billion.

Russell McVeagh

Russell McVeagh frequently handles some of the most significant and high-value M&A deals in the New Zealand market, as well as playing a lead role in a large proportion of the major equity capital raisings. The firm's corporate and capital markets group is strong on the issuer side and underwriter side, as well as assisting a large roster of blue-chip clients with M&A transactions and day-to-day corporate matters. It is also regarded as a key practice in private equity deals, representing large domestic and offshore funds. David Hoare in Auckland leads the practice. In the same office, Joe Windmeyer, Ben Paterson, Dan Jones and David Raudkivi are among the prominent practitioners for M&A and securities matters. Partner Cath Shirley-Brown joined from Simpson GriersonMei Fern Johnson in Wellington is recommended for commercial contracting and M&A deals.

Practice head(s):

David Hoare

Key clients

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited

Pacific Equity Partners

Auckland International Airport

Trade Me Group Limited

Trustpower

KiwiRail

T&G Global

CPE Capital

Spark New Zealand Trading Limited

Lion

Westpac

ANZ

Work highlights

  • Advised WEL Networks on the sale of its 85% stake in Ultrafast Fibre Holdings (UFF), as part of the sale of the entire business to First State Investments for $854m.
  • Sell-side adviser to ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited on the sale of its asset finance business, UDC Finance Limited, to Japan’s Shinsei Bank for $762m.
  • Advised Fonterra on its $633m sale of a 50% interest in DFE Pharma to CVC. The sale was of an offshore asset (primarily in the Netherlands, but with operations around the world) and Russell McVeagh acted as lead deal counsel.

Simpson Grierson

Simpson Grierson has one of the largest corporate law practices in New Zealand and is a key adviser to offshore private equity funds, as well as a high number of inbound M&A transactions for multi-national corporations. Its work in large-scale public and private M&A is often on behalf of offshore purchasers. A large part of the firm's work constitutes capital markets transactions, spanning capital raisings, block trades and underwriting arrangements. It is also involved in many of the largest commercial infrastructure projects, including supply arrangements in the power, water and housing sectors. Practice head Michael Pollard oversees a strong group in Auckland that includes James Hawes, Andrew Matthews, Robert McLean and Simon Vannini. Don Holborow in Wellington is also recommended. Cath Shirley-Brown joined Russell McVeagh.

Practice head(s):

Michael Pollard

Testimonials

‘The teams are very knowledgeable and approachable and provide advice and support in clear and pragmatic manner that is solutions focused and avoids complex language. They have a great ability to engage with colleagues from within our company who are not from a legal environment and are very much looking for positive advice and support that they can relate to and be confident in requesting.’

‘Special counsel and energy sector specialist Chris Browne has been an amazing resource to have access to. Chris has significant industry and in-house experience and consequently feels more like an internal colleague rather than an external resource. The same can be said for Simon Vannini. Simon and his team are great to deal with, proactive and details-focused.’

‘The teams at Simpson Grierson that we now deal with always provide timely accurate and useful advice – all with good humour.’

Key clients

Shinsei Bank Ltd

UBS New Zealand Limited

New Zealand Oil and Gas Limited

Transdev Australasia Pty Limited

Adamantem Capital Pty Limited

Arena Investors LP

Livingbridge Capital

CHAMP Ventures

ASB Bank Limited

Macquarie Securities (NZ) Ltd

OMV NZ Ltd

Heritage Lifecare Limited

Livestock Improvement Co-operative

The a2 Milk Company

Auckland Council

Wellington City Council

Christchurch City Council

Rayonier

MARS

BP Oil Co Ltd

Transpower

Watercare Services

Fletcher Building

Westpac (Westpac Banking Corporation; Westpac New Zealand Ltd)

Work highlights

  • Advised, Tokyo-stock exchange listed, Shinsei Bank on its NZ$762m acquisition of UDC Finance Limited, NZ’s largest trade financing business, from ANZ Bank Ltd.
  • Advised Macquarie Securities (NZ Limited), Jarden Partners Limited and Craigs Investment Partners Limited, the joint underwriters, in the block trade sale of shares by Oceania Healthcare Holdings Limited (for NZ$301.4m), representing the exit of Oceania Healthcare’s cornerstone investor.
  • Advised, private-equity owned, Heritage Lifecare Limited on its acquisition of seven aged care facilities and villages from Golden Healthcare Group, as part of its on-going acquisition strategy.

Buddle Findlay

Buddle Findlay handles the full spectrum of corporate transactions in local and international markets, with its clients including mid-sized and large businesses, as well as listed companies, financial institutions and government agencies. It is sought after by offshore investors seeking to make acquisitions in industries such as agriculture, financial services, energy, food and health. Its recent high-profile work includes acting for a consortium of Infratil Limited and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. in relation to its NZ$3.4bn acquisition of Vodafone New Zealand. Grant Dunn leads the practice from Auckland, where senior consultant Simon Vodanovich is a highly respected practitioner. David Thomson and Wellington-based Steve Nightingale are also recommended. So, too, are up-and-coming partners Sarah McEwan and Nick Bragg, and senior associate Benjamin Sutton in Auckland.

Practice head(s):

Grant Dunn

Testimonials

‘The team at Buddle Findlay worked seamlessly to provide complete solution throughout our transaction. It was great to know that there are a team of experts from across its business working together to make the transaction a success.’

‘We felt that we had attention to detail where the team where prepared to go above and beyond for us. They always had the time to work through our details which was great.’

‘Proactive, commercial and technically excellent, they extremely easy to work with. They manage the whole transaction, not dip in and out.’

‘The firm has highly capable individuals who genuinely work together as a team, to ensure that the client receives the right advice from the specialists within the firm.’

‘Mark Odlin is pragmatic, responsive and efficient.’

Key clients

Sky Television

Infratil

GE Capital

Auckland Council

New Zealand Post Group

Vodafone New Zealand

Goldman Sachs

NZX

Pencarrow Private Equity

H.R.L. Morrison & Co

Z Energy

Nongfu Spring

The Growth Fund

Zespri

Contact Energy

Brookfield

Kinetic

OPTrust

Omya New Zealand

Work highlights

  • Advising a consortium of Infratil Limited and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. in relation to its NZ$3.4bn acquisition of Vodafone New Zealand.
  • Advised Auckland Council on a reorganisation and transfer of the ownership and control of significant assets and businesses comprising the Auckland waterfront, including marinas, wharves and land.
  • Advised Kinetic of Australia (and its shareholder, OPTrust of Canada) on its acquisition of all of the shares in Go-Bus Holdings Limited, one of New Zealand’s largest transport operators (currently ultimately owned by local Maori interests, Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation and Tainui Group Holdings).

Dentons Kensington Swan

The corporate and commercial practice at Dentons Kensington Swan is 'willing to walk the extra mile to strive to understand our business concerns and needs', remarks one client. In early 2020, the firm finalised its merger to become part of the global network of Dentons, which enhances its role in large-scale and cross-border transactions. It also handles significant domestic M&A deals and joint ventures. It frequently acts for NZX- and ASX-listed companies on IPOs, equity offerings and takeovers, as well as major capital raisings and vendor due diligence processes. Practice head Nick Scott resides in Auckland, where Chris Parke and David Lewis are key practitioners. Heida Donegan's role as head of Asia business brings in inbound transactions from China and other Asian countries. Korean speaker Wook Jin Lee joined from Harmos Horton Lusk Limited. David Shillson and Martin Dalgleish are the lead partner in Wellington.

Practice head(s):

Nick Scott

Testimonials

‘They are very professional, commercial and easy to work with. They always give us timely and comprehensive advice. They are willing to walk the extra mile to strive to understand our business concerns and needs. On balance, they are more patient and attentive to detail than lawyers from other firms we used to engage.’

‘Heida Donegan is our “go-to” partner at Dentons Kensington Swan. She is highly approachable, solution-oriented and commercial. She always gives practical and accurate advice. She also has great sense of humour. We enjoy working with Heida and her team. Their work has all along been first-class!’

‘The team is quite professional and resourceful in helping us tackle those deals. They excel in NZ laws and those related to Maori land and good at protecting our interests in those deals.’

‘Dr. Heida Donegan is very professional, devoted, resourceful in assisting our investments in NZ. She is excellent in client communication and expertise in cross-border M&A deals and engaged in recognition of any legal risks for us and providing related optimal legal solutions.’

‘Chris Parke shows convincing logic and provides business-oriented and practical advice, as well as dedication to clients. Also he knows how to deal with meticulous Japanese clients.’

‘The team always provides outstanding and timely advice. They are not only professional, but also commercial. They are highly engaged in both domestic and cross-border corporate transactions . They produced first-class results for us and our shareholders.’

Heida Donegan and her team are all stars – highly committed and dedicated to solving problems and finding solutions for clients. Heida is our trusted advisor to our business. She always provides thoughtful and well-balanced guidance and advice on complex business issues. Her team’s efficient and pragmatic legal support has proven to be invaluable to the success of our business.’

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson

Resimac Limited

Downer

CentrePort Wellington

Danone

Oji Fibre Solutions

Guangxi Fenglin Wood Industry Group

Massey University

ICM Limited

Shiseido Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acted for Nexus Foams Limited on the sale of its business and certain assets to Nexus Performance Foams Limited, which is a subsidiary of the listed company Skellerup Holdings Limited. Nexus Foams Limited carries on the business of manufacturing high-performance foam and soft material components business.
  • Acted for the vendors in relation to all aspects of the sale of all shares in Glidepath Limited, a systems innovator with a 47 year history of delivering baggage handling and integrated security screening systems, especially for airports. The shares were purchased by French company B2A Technology SAS, which is private equity backed.
  • Advised PINZ on numerous acquisitions of forestry land, crown forestry licence and cutting rights and assisted with due diligence, preparation and negotiation of sale and purchase and forestry rights agreements, management agreements and OIO regulations for these transactions.

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand is 'large enough to deal with the complex issues of corporate law relating to listed entities, but small enough to be responsive and mould the services to our needs', remarks one client. The firm is heavily involved in cross-border M&A transactions, as well as large-scale group restructures and reorganisations, often advising on the local aspects of global deals. There is a strong flow of inbound work from Chinese buyers, and the firm has wide-ranging sector expertise in areas such as health, pharmaceuticals, retail, forestry and agriculture. Martin Thompson in Auckland and Rachel Taylor in Wellington are the practice heads. Thomson and senior associate Pavanie Edirisuriya lead the foreign investment practice, while Taylor and Auckland-based Martin Wiseman advise on takeovers and securities law compliance. Reuben Woods handles cross-border transactions, particularly those involving private equity funds.

Practice head(s):

Martin Thompson; Rachel Taylor

Testimonials

‘I find DLA Piper to have deep experience in the areas that are required by our company. This includes the following: -Overseas Investment Office knowledge, land and lease contracts, employment law and corporate structuring. I also find DLA piper very commercial compared to other law firms. They are practical in their approach and look forward to issues that may arise down the track.’

‘Nicole Macfarlane has been precise and structured in her approach with our OIO application. This has made for a an efficient OIO process.’

‘Martin Thomson has been very responsive in his approach and made sure the right resources were applied in a timely manner.’

Key clients

Foodstuffs North Island Limited

IAG New Zealand

TRG Renewable Resources New Zealand

TOWER Limited

AIG Insurance

Pfizer New Zealand Limited

Fonterra

Auckland Council

Mondelez New Zealand

General Electric

Newell Brands

Seequent Limited

Ngāi Tahu

Yashili Group

Mitre 10

Happy Valley Nutrition Limited

Danaher Corporation

Finistere Ventures

Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley

Northern Forest Products Limited

Panuku Development Auckland Limited

Sean Parker

Weta Digital Limited

Marsh Limited

Five V Capital Pty Ltd

Rothbury Insurance Brokers

Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Rawa Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised GE in relation to the New Zealand aspects of the sale of its biopharma business to Danaher Corp. for $21.4bn and another team advised Danaher on the New Zealand aspects of the transaction.
  • Acted for Marsh Limited in respect of the New Zealand aspects of its internal restructure following the global acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group by Marsh and McLennan Companies in early 2019.
  • Acted for Happy Valley Nutrition Limited on the New Zealand aspects of its IPO and listing on the Official List of the ASX and is advising on all legal aspects of the Overseas Investment Office application in relation to the development of a significant dairy processing plant in New Zealand.

Harmos Horton Lusk Limited

Harmos Horton Lusk Limited is widely regarded as the leading corporate law boutique in New Zealand. It focuses on complex and challenging corporate transactions and strategic advisory work, including governance advice, public takeovers, private mergers, acquisitions and disposals, and public and private capital raisings. Alongside this work, it frequently handles foreign investment transactions. The four lead partners - Andrew Harmos, Nathanael Starrenburg, Tim Mitchelson and Annie Steel - work closely with industry veteran and special counsel Greg Horton. Sources also note the strength of its growing associate team, which expanded last year with hires from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

Other key lawyers:

Greg Horton

Key clients

Abano Healthcare Group Limited

AFT Pharmaceuticals Limited

Argosy Property Limited

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Limited

Fulton Hogan Limited

Maui Capital Limited

Pushpay Holdings Limited

Restaurant Brands New Zealand Limited

Silver Fern Farms Limited

TIL Logistics Group Limited

The a2 Milk Company Limited

Seeka Limited

Centuria Capital Group

Vector Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Pushpay Holdings Limited on acquisition of Church Community Builder, LLC and associated cornerstone shareholder sell-down.
  • Advised Freshmax Group Pty Limited in respect of its sale of all of the shares in Freshmax NZ Limited to Turners & Growers Fresh Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of NZX listed T&G Global Limited).
  • Advised Abano Healthcare Group Limited on a proposed take-private by BGH Capital and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, by way of a scheme of arrangement

Mayne Wetherell

Mayne Wetherell is a 'lean machine - a nimble practice able to pivot to where the action is', according to one market source. The Auckland-based firm is small and focused on the key areas of finance, corporate law and restructuring but it frequently handles complex and high-value public and private M&A transactions for a diverse mix of domestic and international clients. It particularly stands out for its work on listed company takeovers, cross-border and offshore transactions, distressed assets, industry consolidations and major divestments, often on behalf of  offshore capital providers. Michael Pritchard and Matthew Olsen oversee the three-partner practice, in which capital markets and securities specialist Simon Horner also plays a pivotal role.

Practice head(s):

Michael Pritchard; Matthew Olsen

Other key lawyers:

Simon Horner

Testimonials

‘A lean machine. A nimble practice able to pivot to where the action is.’

Key clients

Macquarie Principal Finance

Deutsche Bank AG, Sydney Branch

Universal Robina Corporation

KKR

Avanti Finance

Alvarium Investments (NZ) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Macquarie Group Holdings No.3 Pty Ltd’s (MGH3) acquisition (and subsequent novation to MPF Parking NZ Limited) of a 30-year concession to operate SkyCity’s Auckland car parks. The concession gives Macquarie the right to undertake the operations and management of approximately 3,200 car parks under the existing Auckland casino and the New Zealand International Convention Centre currently under construction, with all economic benefit of ownership passed to Macquarie for the concession period.
  • Advised KKR who entered into a venture with Campbell Soup Company in relation to the Campbell International business, pursuant to which KKR established a SPV holdco to acquire 100% of Campbell Hong Kong Limited and 10.2% of Arnott’s Biscuits Holdings Pty Ltd in exchange for a combination of cash and securities in Holdco.
  • Advised Deutsche Bank AG, Sydney in its exit from the Craigs Investment Partners joint venture by way of the sale of its 49.9% interest in Craigs Investment Partners Limited.

Anthony Harper

Anthony Harper's corporate practice has extensive experience in M&A, due diligence, capital raising, corporate structuring, tax structuring, joint ventures, domestic and international supply and distribution agreements, government and private sector procurements, corporate governance and regulatory compliance matters. It has specialist expertise in key sectors such as automotive, food and beverage, logistics and transport, manufacturing, retail, financial services, retirement villages and tourism. Its client base spans small business and international companies, and it is especially noted for its presence in mid-market transactions. Chris Dann leads the practice from Christchurch, where partners David Gould and Megan Compton are also located. In Auckland, managing partner Malcolm Hurley and experienced practitioner Alexander Campbell are the main contacts.

Practice head(s):

Chris Dann

Key clients

Daimler AG

Donaghys Limited

Emergent Cold

IE Money Limited

Lion

Lyttelton Port Company

New Zealand Comfort Group

Rhenus Logistics Asia Pacific Pte Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for Scales on the sale of its cold storage business Polarcold Stores Ltd. and Whakatu Coldstores Ltd. to Emergent Cold for $155m.
  • Advising BSA on the purchase of 100% shares in New Zealand New Milk Limited, New Zealand New Milk Brands Limited, and New Zealand New Milk Trading Limited, via Sanulac Oceania Pty Ltd for NZ$136m.
  • Acting for NZX-listed, Synlait Milk Limited, on the acquisition of all of the shares in Christchurch-based cheese supplier Dairyworks for $112m.

Flacks & Wong

'A great team, highly experienced, pragmatic and efficient', says a client of corporate and commercial boutique firm Flacks & Wong in Auckland. The firm has in-depth corporate law expertise, particularly in public takeovers, private M&A deals, corporate governance and capital markets matters. Large full-service firms frequently refer work to the firm when conflicts arise, giving the practice a presence in numerous high-profile deals. Daniel Wong, described by one client as 'one of the best lawyers in the city', and David Flacks are highly respected practitioners.

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Wong; David Flacks

Testimonials

‘A great team, highly experienced, pragmatic and efficient.’

‘It takes a pragmatic, commercially-driven approach and exceeds client expectations.’

‘The small team at Flacks and Wong provide a personal, “hands-on” professional experience. Capability is high, yet personable, fit for complexity of business or transaction.’

‘Daniel Wong is rated by our firm as one of the best lawyers in the city, and receives more referrals from us than any other lawyer. Daniel has extensive experience and brings this to all relationships he is involved with.’

‘Flacks and Wong is commercially savvy and capable of adapting to the needs of its clients, providing fast, efficient and effective service to its clients.’

‘Daniel Wong is very dynamic, he is excellent at simplifying complex matters and distilling essential commercials from swathes of information during due diligence exercises.’

Key clients

Fidelity Life

Finzsoft Solutions

Impact Enterprise Fund

Keytone Dairy Corporation

Metlifecare

Milford Asset Management

SeaDragon

Serko

Tanarra Capital

Zeffer Brewing

Work highlights

  • Advised Ninety Four Feet on its partnership with Augusta Capital to develop the Lakeview site in Queenstown, New Zealand.
  • Advised Tanarra Capital on its investment in New Zealand Wool Scouring.
  • Advised Finzsoft Solutions on its public takeover offer by an unincorporated joint venture, Finzsoft Joint Venture.

Hesketh Henry

Hesketh Henry in Auckland has 'very talented personnel who know our business as well as theirs, and who are prompt, pragmatic and efficient'. The firm provides specialist corporate advice to domestic and international clients in a range of industries including forestry, manufacturing, dairy, meat, travel, construction, aviation, technology and healthcare. It has notable expertise in assisting overseas entities moving into the Australasian market through acquisitions or the establishment of new businesses. Among its clients are large corporates, SMEs and private equity funds. Managing partner Erich Bachmann leads the practice with Kate Telford, who focuses on general commercial law, and Chris Lee who, handles governance and regulatory matters. Senior associate Julika Wahlmann-Smith is also recommended.

Other key lawyers:

Julika Wahlmann-Smith

Testimonials

‘Very talented personnel who know our business as well as theirs, and who are prompt, pragmatic and efficient.’

‘The standout personnel are Erich Bachmann and associate Sarah Gibbs, who are very approachable, speak in layman’s terms, and consistently offer sound advice on an efficient basis.’

‘Our building supplies co-operative has been working through a number of constitutional and governance changes over the last two years. We have been addressing the gaps in our governance that have appeared due to our rapid growth. Hesketh Henry has been key to helping us understand those gaps, identify solutions and address with the appropriate resolutions, clauses or rules. Hesketh Henry is our “go to” in any event that involves board procedure, company constitutional matters, regulatory bodies interaction and general legal review.’

‘The partner I work closely with is Kate Telford. She is always available for contact or will respond in a very short time frame. We have been working with Kate to help address flaws in our company’s constitution and she has been valuable in understanding our needs in a real world sense and drafting the appropriate clauses or rules. Our board had an issue during the past year that required particular delicacy as it was a precedent setting situation and potentially explosive. Kate worked with our board to help them understand all possible outcomes and consequences and resolution was reached amicably. The board particularly noted Kate’s work in this situation.’

Key clients

AECOM New Zealand Limited

Dominion Constructors Limited

Independent Timber Merchants Co-operative Limited

Jennian Homes Limited

Juken New Zealand Limited

Altus NZ Limited

InterMed Medical Limited

Morgan Advanced Materials plc

Kookmin Bank

Webscope Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Mataura Valley Milk Limited in relation to obtaining foreign investment regulatory approval for aspects of its dairy manufacturing operations in Gore, New Zealand.
  • Advised Juken New Zealand Limited in relation to foreign investment regulatory approvals for the proposed expansion of the company’s extensive mill operations in Gisborne, New Zealand.
  • Advised First Travel Group Limited in relation to the sale of its business and assets to Koala Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Express Travel Group Pty Ltd.

Webb Henderson

Webb Henderson in Auckland has a five-partner practice in which finance and corporate partners work as one integrated group. The partners work across transactional, insolvency and finance matters including high-value transactions in New Zealand and across the Asia-Pacific region. Its recent work has involved clients ranging from government entities through to large corporates, private equity sponsors, family offices and high-net-worth individuals. Practice heads Garth Sinclair and Graeme Quigley are the standout practitioners, with Michael Gartshore and Henry Willis also heavily involved in large transactions. Finance partner Nicole Xanthopol also plays a key role.

Practice head(s):

Garth Sinclair; Graeme Quigley

Key clients

SkyCity Entertainment Group Limited

SilverTree Equity Limited and Pioneer Capital Limited

David Jenkinson and Kirsten Corson

Fonterra Co-Operative Group Limited

BSI Group Assurance Limited

Astana International Exchange Limited

AMA Group Limited

CM Acquisition Co.

Shareholders of New Zealand Frost Fans Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Fonterra in relation to its strategic review of its shareholding, including potential pathways to divesting its shareholding, in Beingmate Baby & Child Food Co., Ltd, a leading Chinese infant formula.
  • Advised SilverTree in relation to their acquisition of 100% of the shares in Agility CIS Limited, a market-leading provider of utility customer information and billing systems software headquartered in New Zealand.
  • Sole legal advisors to the shareholders of New Zealand Frost Fans Limited (NZFF) (a producer of frost prevention equipment for horticultural businesses) in their sale of a 75% share in the NZFF business to Pencarrow Private Equity, following a competitive bid process.

Anderson Lloyd

Anderson Lloyd prides itself on its national coverage and the corporate practice has a presence in all four of its offices - Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown. The firm handles significant mid-market M&A transactions and its work includes advising private equity firms and other institutional investors, as well as national and international corporates. Chris Bargery in Auckland is a highly recommended private equity lawyer. Senior associate Bede Maher also plays a key role in the Auckland practice. Anne McLeod  in Dunedin is a prominent figure among corporate lawyers in the Sourth Island. The practice is led from Christchurch by Ben Johnston.

Practice head(s):

Ben Johnston

Other key lawyers:

Anne McLeod; Chris Bargery; Bede Maher

Testimonials

‘Their billing practices are fair – I rarely feel that I need to question it.’

‘Anne McLeod is always happy to discuss the smaller matters over the phone – as an in-house counsel having an external sounding board is invaluable.’

‘The M&A team can match any other top-tier NZ M&A team.’

‘The firm has a very commercial approach to M&A solution creation, based on deep experience. Chris Bargery is a standout and one of the best in the business in NZ, representing leading NZ PE firms and global PE firms investing in NZ.’

‘There is full engagement to understand, manage and execute the purchase of a major business.’

‘The matter was not just another file passing over the desk. The purchase was a true team effort to address all matters along the way. Post the purchase, the team has remained engaged to address post purchase issues.’

Key clients

Pioneer Capital Partners

Pacific Edge Limited

Farmlands Co-operative Society Limited

New Forests Asset Management Pty Limited

Foodstuffs South Island Limited

Real Journey’s Limited

Port Otago Limited

Russell Group

Amuri Irrigation Company Limited

Dunedin City Council

Work highlights

  • Advised on the sale of WhereScape’s software and consulting businesses in two separate transactions.
  • Advised Pacific Edge on its capital raising on the NZX.
  • Advised Agility CIS on the acquisition of ZNalytics business in the US, Japan and India.

Lane Neave

Lane Neave has a busy M&A practice that frequently handles the local aspects of global transactions. Recent examples include the acquisition of CSG by Fuji Xerox. The firm has a prominent role in transactions in the non-bank deposit-taking sector, having been involved in mergers and incorporations of New Zealand-registered credit unions. Another key sector is minerals, with the firm advising resources companies on joint ventures, corporate strategy and day-to-day corporate matters. Gerard Dale and Claire Evans in Christchurch lead a six-partner corporate group that has a national presence through its four offices. 'They are very good at putting advice into plain English', remarks one client.

Practice head(s):

Gerard Dale; Claire Evans

Other key lawyers:

Joelle Grace; Graeme Crombie

Testimonials

‘Lane Neave have a very wide and diverse range of professional lawyers covering all subject matter, essentially experts for all the key commercial portfolios. They like to engage collaboratively and are very good at putting advice into plain English!’

‘Joelle Grace worked with us on some contract law and M&A deals. She is a straight shooter with a solid transactional skillset – highly organised and a great communicator.’

‘Graeme Crombie worked with us on some fair trading  and consumer guarantee and privacy policy with a marketing lens. He is very knowledgeable, understanding risk mitigation. He is solid in the tech space as well.’

Key clients

Credit Union Baywide

Bathurst Resources Limited

BT Mining Limited

Sanderson Management Limited

Pegasus Health (Charitable) Limited

Canterbury District Health Board

Ngai Tahu Property Limited

Woolworths New Zealand Limited

Bridgewest Group LLC

Williams Corporation Capital Limited

Mie Pay Limited

New Zealand Public Trust

Veritide Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Credit Union Baywide on its acquisition of the New Zealand Association of Credit Unions, trading as Co-op Money NZ.
  • Advised Mie Pay Limited in connection with its listing on the National Stock Exchange of Australia (NSX).
  • Advised Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific on the New Zealand aspects of its acquisition (by scheme of arrangement) of ASX listed CSG Limited

Tompkins Wake

Tompkins Wake frequently handles corporate matters for clients in regulated sectors such as dairy, electricity, telecommunications and local government. It acts for domestic corporates, multi-nationals, banks, developers, institutional investors, property funds, iwi and local government authorities in matters ranging from corporate financing through to construction projects, commercial developments and commercial acquisitions. Mark Renner in Hamilton leads a practice in which M&A specialist Phil Taylor is recommended. The corporate group in Auckland, where Tom Arieli and Bryce Davey are key partners, expanded with the arrival of special counsel Mark Lowndes and a team from his former firm Lowndes. The team includes experienced corporate specialist Kerri Dewe .

Practice head(s):

Mark Renner

Key clients

UPFintech Holding Limited

Zip Co Limited

Danaher Corporation

Hamilton City Council

Zambion Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acted for UPFintech Holding Limited and its New Zealand subsidiaries for its $150m IPO on the NASDAQ. The firm’s role involved conducting due diligence exercises on the relevant New Zealand subsidiaries, reviewing the F-1 (prospectus) and providing advice with regards to all aspects of New Zealand law (except for tax) related to the IPO.
  • Acted for Claymark Group on the sale of the business to NZ Future Forest Products. This included structuring, negotiating the deal, assisting with due diligence, drafting and negotiating transaction documents and preparing for closing (which ultimately failed to occur).
  • Acted for Zip in its acquisition of Part Pay Limited. This included structuring, negotiating the deal, assisting with due diligence, drafting and negotiating the transaction documents.

Wynn Williams

'The firm is very commercial, timely and provides excellent client service', says a client of Wynn Williams. Another notes that it is 'able to quickly and flexibly respond to clients needs'. The firm's broad scope of work includes complex acquisitions and divestments in the growth industry areas of honey and food, as well as private equity and venture capital transactions in a range of sectors. Ash Hill leads the practice from Auckland, where Hayley Buckley is known for equity crowdfunding transactions and Stephen Lowe 'delivers practical advice that always takes into account the business objective'.

Practice head(s):

Ash Hill

Testimonials

‘The firm is responsive, able to deliver to estimated fees and can cover a wide range of legal issues.’

‘Stephen Lowe is a safe pair of hands willing to invest in the relationship.’

‘Senior associate Kimberley Wong is committed and hardworking. Very capable.’

‘The firm is very commercial, timely and provides excellent client service. It is also strong in detail but understands commercial reality too.’

‘Ash Hill and senior associate Tom Corkill are always approachable, smart and generally all round good guys.’

‘Wynn Williams is a well known NZ commercial firm based in Christchurch. The office in Auckland is relatively new, but is packed with top-performing lawyers. These lawyers are able to quickly and flexibly respond to clients needs directly and able to rely on the full service that exists in Christchurch for back up. Business-savvy results for its clients is assured.’

‘Stephen Lowe is an exceptional lawyer in the NZ M&A market. He delivers practical advice that always takes into account the business objective. He does not over complicate matters and is very accessible. Stephen works well with other counsel, this includes on cross-border deals. We would have no hesitation in recommending Stephen.’

‘High-quality lawyers who execute as good as the traditional best in the market. No insecurity complex with these guys and that confidence is important.’

‘Hayley Buckley, Ash Hill and Stephen Lowe are smart, intelligent operators who do not faff about.’

Key clients

Milford Private Equity

Orora

Hall’s Group

Tanarra Credit Partners

Maui Private Equity

Smart Environmental

Reddy Group

Snowball Effect

Invivo Wines

Electric Kiwi

AMP

Castlerock Partners

Darby Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Advising Anglican Care on the sale of its Christchurch residential care facilities to Ryman. This was high-profile in that a failure to complete the deal may have resulted in elderly residents being left without care and accommodation.
  • Acting as New Zealand legal advisor to ASX listed Orora on the sale of its Australasian fibre business to Japanese firm, Nippon Paper.
  • Advised the major shareholders in Auckland-based Agility CIS Ltd on their share sale to London-based private equity firm SilverTree Equity and Auckland-based investment firm Pioneer Capital.