Firms To Watch: Corporate and M&A

EY Law provides end-to-end legal advice that complement the firms’ wider professional services offering, namely in corporate transactions, reorganisations, M&A and private equity.
Auckland based boutique, Couch Harlowe Kovacevich is experienced in all aspects of corporate and commercial law, with notable strengths in overseas investment, private equity, capital raisings and mid-market M&A.
Quigg Partners is a specialist corporate, commercial and employment law boutique which assists local and international clients with drafting, negotiating and contracting of a wide range of commercial agreements, with franchising, services agreements and distribution, being areas of strength.

Corporate and M&A in New Zealand

Russell McVeagh

Financial services, private equity, infrastructure and government and public sector are some of Russell McVeagh‘s key areas of activity for corporate acquisitions, joint ventures and ECM transactions. David Hoare chairs the national practice from Auckland where he draws on over 20 years’ experience, he advises a cross section of high profile clients, among them Pacific Equity Partners and Fonterra, on all aspects corporate and commercial transactions. Joe Windmeyer‘s practice focuses on M&A and securities work, which is complemented by Ben Paterson ’s, David Raudkivi’s and Dan Jones’ experience in private equity and public M&A. Cath Shirley-Brown is another top partner for public and private M&A, joint ventures, shareholder arrangements and acting for central and local government entities. All lawyers are based in Auckland. Mei Fern Johnson in Wellington is recognised for her expertise in investment in (and procurement of) infrastructure, technology, transport and energy projects.

Practice head(s):

David Hoare

Testimonials

‘Experienced NZ firm, had worked with our business previously so brought good industry knowledge to the transaction.’

‘David Raudkivi was engaging and knew market practice on M&A, worked well with his competition law colleagues (as the deal was difficult from that perspective).’

‘They are commercial and work to understand what we are trying to achieve. This characteristic in particular makes them a pleasure to work with.’

‘Cath Shirley-Brown is hard working, commercially focused and great to deal with.’

Key clients

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited

Pacific Equity Partners

Auckland International Airport

Trustpower

KiwiRail

T&G Global

ANZ

Work highlights

  • 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.
  • Acted as lead deal counsel for Fonterra Co-operative Group on the sale to Inner Mongolia Natural Dairy Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of China Youran Dairy Group Limited (Youran), of Fonterra’s two farming-hubs in Ying and Yutian for NZ$552m (RMB 2.54 billion).
  • Assisted Tilt Renewables, a leading developer, owner and manager of renewable generation assets in Australasia, in relation to a scheme of arrangement (subject to Court approval) facilitating a 100% takeover and sale of its New Zealand assets valued at an enterprise value of NZ$3.24bn.

Simpson Grierson

Top tier corporate practice‘ Simpson Grierson is ‘able to pull together a very strong legal team with expertise in all areas’ such as IPOs, M&A, private equity and corporate restructuring. It also maintains a strong inbound investment practice, advising both offshore PE funds (principally UK, US and Australian) and MNCs who are seeking to invest in New Zealand’s industries, such as dairy, forestry and healthcare. Top mandates saw Andrew Matthews and James Hawes advising on Shinsei Bank’s A$300m acquisition of 10% shareholding in Latitude Finance Group (Australia & NZ). Robert McLean’s speciality is in China-based investments into New Zealand and M&A activity involving the New Zealand SME’s in the industrial, forestry and medical sectors, while Simon Vannini’s practice is geared towards technology, telecoms infrastructure and early stage investments. Michael Pollard chairs the practice from Auckland. Wellington’s corporate team is led by the ‘exceptionalDon Holborow

Practice head(s):

Michael Pollard

Testimonials

‘The practice is a one stop shop for all our legal requirements with expertise in all areas. They are able to pull together a very strong legal team and meet tight deadlines.’

‘Top tier corporate practice. Very responsive and client focused.’

‘Don Holborow is exceptional to deal with. His responsiveness and client service ethic is excellent. He is pragmatic, commercial and a pleasure to deal with.’

‘The partners are very easy to contact and responsive and prepared to go above and beyond to meet client deadlines. They are also have very good industry knowledge and the advise they give is precise and to the point.’

‘Simon Vannini is a partner I work with regularly. Appreciate his sharp intelligence and ability to identify core issues and do so in a manner that is more that of a colleague than an external resource. Simon ensures he and his team are available, turns work around promptly and ensures there is regular communication regarding progress.’

 

Key clients

The a2 Milk Company Ltd

Shinsei Bank

Livestock Improvement Company Ltd

PMG Property Funds Management Ltd

Matariki Forests

CHAMP Ventures

Adamantem Capital

Mercury Capital

Gilbert + Tobin

Work highlights

  • Advised Shinsei on its acquisition of UDC from ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited for approx NZ$760m.
  • Advised Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets & Aware Super on its acquisition of telecommunications group Vocus Group Ltd.
  • Advised The a2 Milk Company Ltd on its acquisition of 75% of Matuara Valley Milk for approx NZ$385m.

Bell Gully

Knowledgeable and user friendly’ Bell Gully is a well established New Zealand commercial practice which is noted for its handling of high value M&A, demergers and joint ventures in the energy, finance, consumer goods and construction sectors. James Cooney  advised BGH Capital and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board on their NZ$136m takeover of NZX-listed Abano Healthcare Group by way of scheme of arrangement, while Dean Alderton advised Asahi Beverages on the acquisition of Allpress Espresso, a premium New Zealand coffee brand. Capital markets, private equity and corporate governance are also significant areas of work. Anna Buchly advises the firms’ private equity clients on their investment in New Zealand. She worked alongside James Gibson on EQT’s first investment into Oceania, by way of it acquisition by a scheme of arrangement of NZX listed Metlifecare, by EQT’s Infrastructure IV Fund. All individuals are based in Auckland unless otherwise stated. Glenn Joblin is the lead corporate lawyer in the insurance space, while in Wellington, names to note are oil and gas lawyer David Coull  and firm deputy chair, Amon Nunns , for corporate acquisitions.

Practice head(s):

David Coull

Testimonials

‘Well established NZ practice. Strong oil and gas expertise. Knowledgeable, user friendly and always delivers.’

‘David Coull is a recognized expert in upstream oil and gas legal matters in NZ. He is smart, quick to adapt but is very good at clearly articulating the key principles of any deal/issue. Very responsive and thorough.’

Key clients

EQT Infrastructure IV /EQT Private Equity

Resolution Life

Nippon Paper

Stride Property

SkyCity Entertainment Group

Contact Energy

First Sentier Investors

Investore

Cognizant Worldwide

Asahi Beverages

Work highlights

  • Advised Resolution Life on the New Zealand aspects of its acquisition of AMP’s wealth protection and mature businesses (AMP Life) for total cash and non-cash consideration of approximately AU$3bn. AMP Life is New Zealand’s second largest life insurer.
  • Advised Bentley Systems on its US$1.05bn acquisition of Seequent, a global leader in 3D modeling software for geosciences.
  • Acting for Australia’s largest superannuation fund, AustralianSuper, on its interest in a potential takeover in respect of NZX-listed infrastructure and utilities investment company Infratil Limited. AustralianSuper’s NZ$5.4bn proposal to acquire all of the shares in Infratil would, if implemented, be the largest takeover ever completed in New Zealand market.

Chapman Tripp

Chapman Tripp‘s top-tier practice is led by Tim Tubman from Auckland, supported by a sizeable group of specialists across the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch offices. Clients regard the team as ‘highly skilled and experienced‘ in landmark M&A, several involving multiple Asia Pacific jurisdictions, capital markets mandates including IPOs and secondary capital raising. Leading mandates include Rachel Dunne advising on Kathmandu’s $207m capital raising, Also in Auckland, John Strowger, Roger Wallis, Joshua Pringle and Lauren Curtayne are sought after corporate counsel for major listed corporates and private equity groups in relation to equity capital raisings, private equity transactions and public M&A. Josh Blackmore  is the key figure in Wellington.  

Practice head(s):

Tim Tubman

Testimonials

‘The team is excellent. They are highly skilled and experienced. They are also good at understanding business needs and providing advice that fits the business needs. The team is easy to deal with.

‘They are smart, capable, proactive and really good to work with. They look after their clients very well, and you get the same levels of service for the smallest legal question as you do for the largest M&A or capital markets transaction.’

‘Josh Blackmore is just really great to work with – very smart and understands our business and what matters to us.’

 

Key clients

AMP

Metlifecare

Augusta Capital Limited

Auckland International Airport Limited

New Zealand Superannuation Fund

Kogan.com Limited

Kathmandu Holdings Limited

Sky Network Television Limited

Southern Cross Healthcare

Z Energy Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised AMP on the sale of its wealth protection and mature life business in Australia and New Zealand, AMP Life, to Resolution Life Group for A$3b.
  • Advised Jarden, Credit Suisse and Citi as joint lead managers and underwriters of NZX and ASX (foreign exempt) listed issuer Auckland Airport’s NZ$1 billion placement and as joint lead managers of Auckland Airport’s NZ$200 million SPP.
  • Advised Kogan.com Limited on its acquisition of Mighty Ape Limited, a New Zealand-based company engaged in the business of online retail of games, toys and other entertainment categories.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is held in high esteem for its ‘coordinated and responsive team’, great bench strength‘ and prominent market position handling a wide range of M&A, joint ventures, corporate governance and ECM transactions. As one of New Zealand’s best known commercial and ECM lawyers, Silvana Schenone, is sought after by leading domestic businesses such as New Zealand Merino, who she advised on its capital raising. Also in the Auckland office, Mark Stuart and Mark Forman have significant experience in corporate acquisitions, private equity and capital markets experience. Both have supported Advised Healthscope on the sale of its New Zealand pathology business, Asia Pacific Healthcare Group. Neil Millar and Cathy Quinn are also highly regarded in the market while rising star senior associate Igor Drinkovic works alongside key partners in Auckland. Rodney Craig leads the Wellington corporate practice. In September 2021, Cameron Taylor left the practice to head the corporate department at EY.  

Practice head(s):

Silvana Schenone; Rodney Craig

Testimonials

‘Great bench strength. Highly coordinated and responsive team. Involved in most significant transactions in the NZ market.’

‘The Corporate M&A practice at MERW is very plugged into the market and able to give insights and trends which are very useful commercially. They knit together relationships – a unique skill.’

‘Highly commercial and attuned to the dynamic of the deal. Mark Forman and Silvana Schenone are two of NZ’s leading commercial lawyers. It’s rare to be able to refer to a lawyer as a “dealmaker” but they both thoroughly deserve that description.’

Key clients

Infratil

Brookfield Asset Management

Essity Group Holdings

Ngai Tahu Holdings and Tainui Group Holdings

Tower

E & J Gallo Winery

The Warehouse Group

The New Zealand Refining Company Limited

MediaWorks Holdings Limited

The New Zealand Merino Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Worked with MinterEllison Australia to advise Essity Aktiebolag, listed in the Swedish stock exchange, on its acquisition of ASX listed Asaleo Care Limited (Asaleo) for approx. AU$788m.
  • Acted for The Treasury on the provision of an up to $150m equity injection from New Zealand Post’s shareholder to recapitalise and strengthen reserves of New Zealand Post from the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
  • Advised listed company Infratil on the offers received from AustralianSuper, Australia’s largest superannuation fund, to acquire 100% of the shares in Infratil by way of a scheme of arrangement for a consideration of approximately $5.4bn.

Anthony Harper

Anthony Harper‘s corporate practice has bolstered its offering with the arrival of corporate and securities expert Andrew Wallace, who joins as a consultant from Lowndes Jordan in Spring 2021, and Matt Smith has been promoted to partner. The practice continues to perform strongly in public M&A, private equity transactions, corporate structuring, joint ventures and capital raisings. The practice is particularly well regarded for its retirement village expertise, which is among the largest specialist practice in New Zealand. Christchurch based ‘standout corporate lawyer’ David Gould has a good mix of intelligence, humility and commerciality’ and managing partner Malcolm Hurley  is noted for his M&A expertise, particularly within the retail sector. Alex Campbell  and Jenny Baldwin, who is the key partner for retirement village-related mandates, as well as senior assistant Jordan Wright , make up other key figures in Auckland. Chris Dann leads the practice from Christchurch. Sam Wilson joined the team from DLA Piper New Zealand in August 2021.

Practice head(s):

Chris Dann

Testimonials

Anthony Harper’s David Gould is an excellent legal partner on any acquisition or divestment that we have been involved in. He is a very clever lawyer but more importantly he is practical and commercial. David seems to manage his team well in that he is typically always available to take on work when required by us. He also has a very good reputation in the market so can talk to a lot of other corresponding legal teams with ease and also knows or has good relationships with industry participants.’

‘In my 20 years of commercial experience David Gould has been the standout corporate lawyer that I have used or come up against. He has a good mix of intelligence, humility and commerciality.’

‘Alex Campbell – pragmatic, commercially minded lawyer who consistently delivers high quality work.’

Key clients

Rhenus Logistics Asia Pacific Pte Ltd

Scales Corporation Limited

Daimler AG

IE Money Limited

Donaghys Limited

Coca-Cola Amatil

Work highlights

  • Advised the NZX listed international milk nutrition company on its strategically important acquisition of major cheese producer, Dairyworks Limited for NZ$112 million.
  • Advised the court-appointed Receivers over the shares in Worldwide Leisure Limited on the sale of world-renown Huka Lodge to US private equity client.
  • Advised global logistics provider, Rhenus Group on its acquisition of 100% of the Malcolm Total Logistics Group.

Buddle Findlay

Buddle Findlay‘s ‘well rounded team‘ is recognised for its ‘strong bench of talent‘, and is chaired by Grant Dunn, who is singled out for his ‘deep technical expertise in offshore work‘, particularly in the key sectors of agriculture, energy, technology and telecoms, and financial services. Based in Auckland, Dunn and David Thomson  specialise in private equity and public M&A, acting for clients such as Brookfield, Affinity Equity Partners and TPG. Simon Vodanovich transitioned to a consultancy role but remains a central figure on the team. He worked alongside up and coming partners Nick Bragg  and Sarah McEwan on Infratil’s acquisition of a majority stake in the $867m Pacific Radiology business. Steve Nightingale  and Renee Stiles are the main partners in Wellington.  

Practice head(s):

Grant Dunn

Testimonials

‘For me and many others – the best Legal M&A team in town and probably NZ . Led by Grant Dunn and David Perry they pulled off a stunning MBO deal for us. Price exceeded , terms strong and robust, speed unbelievable.’

‘Good solid team – What I mean is that this team is highly dependable in terms of delivery time frames and quality of work is high. The team is highly motivated and driven and that comes through. They keep everything in a simple language so we, as clients, understand complex issues well. The team has a good balance of young as well as experienced Associates and Partners.’

‘They take full ownership – and you truly do get the benefit of the whole firm as the corporate/M&A partners seamlessly ensure specialists are engaged as appropriate. One of the best teams in the NZ market to work with – technically, commercially and ease of working. A strong bench of talent as well.’

‘The team at Buddle Findlay is stellar. They are professionals and have a well rounded team who can manage an entire transaction with ease.’

‘Grant Dunn. Very strong knowledge of the NZ market and deep technical expertise from offshore work and broad variety of work.’

‘Grant Dunn, Partner – Grant is a stand out partner. He is approachable, a pleasure to work with and offers deep thought leadership and pragmatic commercial advice.’

Key clients

Sky Television

Infratil

Chevron Corporation

Auckland Council

New Zealand Post Group

Vodafone New Zealand

Goldman Sachs

Pencarrow Private Equity

Work highlights

  • Advising Infratil, as majority shareholder in Tilt Renewables, in relation to the conditional transaction (by way of a scheme of arrangement) under which Powering Australian Renewables and Mercury NZ will acquire Tilt Renewables for approximately NZ$3 bn.  
  • Advised Trade Me (New Zealand’s largest e-commerce platform, owned by APAX Partners) on the acquisition of all of the shares in PropertyNZ Limited, the operator of the homes.co.nz property valuation business.
  • Advising on the sale of CNZ Group to McLarens LLC, a US based global group specialising in loss adjusting and claims management.

Dentons Kensington Swan

Highly experienced, efficient and solution-orientedDentons Kensington Swan leverages its international network to win instructions on large scale transactions, involving local and offshore components. In one such example, Chris Parke led senior associate Charles Thompson, in acting for the shareholders of Glidepath on the sale of all of their shares to French robotics and automated solutions leader B2A Technology SAS. Head of Asia business Heida Donegan and Korean speaker Wook Jin Lee‘s cross-border transactional expertise, has contributed to the growth of its Asian-based client portfolio. Parke heads the practice from Auckland, which also houses David Lewis who lends 30 years’ experience in high-end M&A transactions, company law and restructuring. He has developed a speciality in regulatory and commercial issues relating to medicines, medical devices and primary healthcare. Nick Scott is another key layer. Wellington-based David Shillson regularly advises on asset and share transactions. He is also instructed by government departments and local authorities in relation to significant commercial projects relating to infrastructure and services provided to communities.

Practice head(s):

Nick Scott

Testimonials

‘They are highly experienced, efficient and solution-oriented. They always give us pragmatic and realistic advice. They know our business needs and objectives well. They are not afraid of challenges, hence, they provide us with exceptional results. They are a team with good sense of humour. They are easy to work with. ‘

‘We love working with Heida Donegan and her team. Heida is always available to answer any questions we have. We feel at ease knowing that she takes a holistic approach to every deal. We can always rely on her to identify loopholes/issues and find solutions for us.’

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson

Downer

CentrePort Wellington

Danone

Oji Fibre Solutions

Guangxi Fenglin Wood Industry Group

Pernod Ricard Winemakers Limited

Bridgestone New Zealand Limited

George Weston Foods

Work highlights

  • Advised international pulp and paper company OjiFS on a number of acquisitions of forestry assets and on obtaining a standing forestry consent under the Overseas Investment Act (one of only four such standing consents that have been granted).
  • Acted for the shareholders of Glidepath on the sale of all of their shares to French robotics and automated solutions leader B2A Technology SAS. Glidepath designs, manufactures, maintains and integrates automated technology solutions baggage handling and security systems for airports, and logistics centres and operates in 8 countries across five continents.  
  • Acted for Whanganui District Council on the establishment of the Whanganui Port Limited Partnership (LP) as a new council controlled organisation (CCO) to acquire the Whanganui Port assets and receive investment funding from the New Zealand Government’ Provincial Growth Fund.

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand‘s ‘lawyers act as true business partners and add value in a meaningful way‘ with one client describing the group as ‘exactly what an in-house counsel needs‘. Leading the practice from Auckland, Martin Wiseman has over 30 years’ transactional experience in M&A, joint ventures, and equity capital markets, and is a trusted counsel for clients such as Foodstuffs, Auckland Council and Pfizer. Counterpart Rachel Taylor in Wellington advises listed companies, insurers, trustees, Crown entities and other corporates, and has long standing relationships with many of the firm’s annuity clients. Senior corporate partner Martin Thomson  focuses on M&A and is the go-to advisor for foreign investors operating in a range of industries under the Overseas Investment Act. Similarly, Reuben Woods also ‘provides all-round excellent service’ in multi-jurisdictional transactions across various sectors, and is supported by senior associate Aoife O’Gorman. Sam Wilson departed the team in August 2021.

Practice head(s):

Martin Thompson; Rachel Taylor

Testimonials

‘Very responsive, providing clear concise advice, with resourcing and end product being right sized to exactly what is required. Exactly what an in-house counsel needs. No over engineering being done here. Enables faster understanding and decision making for the client.’

‘Each of the advisers were very responsive and flexible in order to provide excellent client service despite the difficult time zones. I found their advice to be consistently legally sound and they provided commercial solutions which were appropriate in the circumstances.’

‘The lawyers act as true business partners and add value in a meaningful way.’

‘Martin Wisemen is smart and commercial, always available and a problem solver. Laura Scampion and Justin March are experts in their field and very commercial.’

‘Reuben Woods provides all-round excellent service. Reuben and his team provided consistently good legal advice and solutions, without dropping the ball on any workstreams. Reuben is also very personable and builds a strong rapport with his clients, which helps to build trust, as well as with the counter-party. This was particularly important given the remote nature of our relationship and so we could rely on DLA to progress negotiations with the counter-party in my absence.’

‘Intimate grasp of the law in highly complex and high pressure environments. Capable of providing extremely clear and concise advice in the above area under time pressure to assist in-house counsel provide advice and leadership make decisions. Advice is well tailored to the audience in terms of content, style and delivery. Very well received.’

Key clients

Accel-KKR

Pfizer

Parker Media (Sean Parker)

Tech Mahindra

Discovery, Inc.

Happy Valley Nutrition Limited

Auckland Unlimited

Bessemer Venture Partners

Finistere Ventures

Five V Capital Pty Limited

OSF Global Services (OSF Digital)

Foodstuffs North Island

13 Tower Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Accel-KKR and its portfolio company, Seequent Holdings Limited on the sale of Seequent Holdings Limited to Bentley Systems, Incorporated.
  • Advised for Tech Mahindra Singapore (Pte.) Limited (a subsidiary of Tech Mahindra Limited) on its 100% equity acquisition of Tenzing Limited and Tenzing Australia Limited.
  • Advised US tech entrepreneur and philanthropist, Sean Parker, in relation to Parker Media’s strategic equity investment in Weta Digital Limited.

Harmos Horton Lusk Limited

Premier Auckland corporate boutique, Harmos Horton Lusk Limited is regarded as ‘experts in M&A, securities law, takeovers and general commercial law’. Led by Andrew Harmos and Nathanael Starrenburg, together with senior associates Emma Barnett and Henry Cairns, the team acted for Powering Australian Renewables on it and Mercury NZ Limited’s consortium acquisition of ASX/NZX dual listed Tilt Renewables, being the largest takeover undertaken in New Zealand via a scheme of arrangement). Harmos and Starrenburg ‘have significant experience in corporate advisory’ and are considered among New Zealand’s leading lawyers in public M&A (takeovers) and capital raisings. Tim Mitchelson is ‘commercially astute, incredibly responsive and a problem solver’. He advised on AFT Pharmaceuticals’ NZ$76m equity capital raising and associated sell down of interests associated with cornerstone shareholders.

Other key lawyers:

Greg Horton; Paul Oldfield

Testimonials

‘HHL are commercial and pragmatic, focused on client outcomes rather than point scoring and very responsive. Very collaborative on multi-jurisdiction deals.’

‘Excellent commercial lawyers who do all our M&A, commercial and contract work.  The firm has a strong commercial focus on problem solving and providing practical advice. Work is turned around quickly and is of a high quality first time. The firm does not engage in unnecessary drafting that extends job time and fees.’

‘The team are experts in their field and highly responsive. They bring commercial acumen and common sense to complex situations.’

‘Nat Starrenburg and Andrew Harmos are the most intelligent people I know. They have significant experience in corporate advisory, and particularly in M&A. Both have also been involved in the Takeovers Panel at various stages. They will always be involved with advising one party in most of the big deals.’

‘Tim Mitchelson picks up complicated concepts very quickly – he is commercially astute, incredibly responsive and a problem solver. We see him as a valued member of our extended in-house legal team.’

‘Paul Oldfield has the best legal mind in the NZ legal profession – we feel very fortunate to be able to run complex problems past him.’

‘Andrew Harmos has a long history of working with large NZ listed businesses – he is incredibly experienced and commercial in his approach.’

Key clients

AFT Pharmaceuticals Limited

Centuria Capital Group

Argosy Property Limited

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Limited

Fulton Hogan Limited

Mercury Capital

Pushpay Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Talley’s Group on its successful full takeover offer for the remaining shares in Open Country Dairy, which valued the target at $533 million.
  • Advised ASX-listed Centuria Capital Group on its successful $175 million full cash and scrip takeover offer for NZX-listed Augusta Capital.
  • Advised Radius Residential Care in respect of its direct listing on the NZX Main Board, the first direct listing under the new NZX Listing Rules that simplified the disclosure requirements for direct listings.

Mayne Wetherell

Mayne Wetherell‘s corporate and commercial practice is well placed to advise on the full range of M&A activities and on structuring and executing foreign direct investment into New Zealand and on the Overseas Investment Act regime. Matthew Olsen and Michael Pritchard co-head the team in Auckland, specialising on corporate advisory, private equity, capital solutions, foreign investment and securities. Simon Horner is another name to note for takeovers and securities. Clients hail from the private equity, financial services, healthcare, infrastructure, TMT and food and beverage sectors.  Simon Horner  is the main contact for capital markets and securities mandates.

Other key lawyers:

Simon Horner

Work highlights

  • Advised Calibre Partners as Receivers in respect of the shares of Burger King New Zealand. Calibre Partners undertook a competitive sales process, which resulted in 100% of the shares in Burger King New Zealand being sold to Tahua Partners.
  • Advised on Deutsche Bank’s exit from the Craigs Investment Partners joint venture by way of the sale of its substantial interest in Craigs Investment Partners Limited to CIP Holdings Limited.
  • Advised on KKR’s acquisition of approximately 60% of the ordinary equity in Argenta Limited, a research and development and manufacturing provider, specialising exclusively in animal health.

Anderson Lloyd

Anderson Lloyd‘s practice is led by Ben Johnston, based in Christchurch and prides itself on its national coverage from its Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown offices, offering ‘big firm experience with boutique service. Auckland’s Chris Bargery is in demand for domestic and cross-border domestic M&A and private equity funds, with Pioneer Capital being one of his longstanding clients. Bede Maher made partner in April 2021, and is another central figure in Auckland. Dunedin’s Anne McLeod is similarly a leading corporate lawyer in South Island, and also acts on mid-market M&A and capital raisings, often for hospitality sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Ben Johnston

Testimonials

‘Anderson Lloyd are our go-to legal advisors. They are experts in the ANZ market and have strong interpersonal skills with exemplary client service. They have delivered innovations in the form of legal frameworks for PE concepts introduced to NZ from the US/UK (e.g. MIP-lite, B Shares) and are creative problem solvers. They are extremely pragmatic and commercial and have been invaluable in helping us navigate and negotiate each transaction.’

‘They have a highly personable approach with great interoperability between their teams. They are highly, highly capable and experienced when it comes to corporate matters. They have been easily on par and in many cases exceeding the capabilities of global top tier firms in terms of specialised knowledge, service and availability.’

‘Big firm experience with boutique service. Pragmatic and commercial approach.’

‘Bede Maher has been exceptional on a current transaction which has been a marathon two year effort to date. He is constantly one step ahead, anticipating issues and formulating solutions. His personable approach means communication is open, honest and constant. Completely reliable.’

‘Chris Bargery – Partner – very pragmatic and commercial, delivers a strong combination of legal expertise and problem solving skills to help navigate transactions. Strong negotiator who is able to bring his market knowledge to bear to drive issues to completion.’

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 Pioneer Capital (the major shareholder) and all other shareholders on the sale of Natural Pet Food Group to leading global private equity firm KKR.
  • Advised Agility on its acquisition of ZNalytics LLC, a US based utility billing company with operations in the USA, Japan and India. Agility is a New Zealand based global provider of utility billing and data management software and is backed by SilverTree Equity, a London-based software and technology focused private equity firm, and Pioneer Capital, a leading New Zealand private equity firm.
  • Advised Pioneer Capital on the recapitalisation of Magic Memories (a worldwide attraction photography business). Due to Covid-19, most attractions around the world had shut down. Anderson Lloyd advised Pioneer Capital (an existing shareholder in Magic Memories) in relation to the capital raise, which was fully underwritten by Pioneer Capital. As a result of the recapitalisation, Pioneer Capital is now the majority shareholder in Magic Memories.

Flacks & Wong

According to one client the ‘depth of expertise across the bench at Flacks & Wong is hard to match, with each lawyer being an extremely safe pair of hands.’ David Flacks is a highly-respected specialist in public takeovers and mid-market M&A transactions, while Daniel Wong takes the lead on private equity transactions and equity capital markets matters. Both are also experts in complex joint venture and shareholder arrangements, corporate governance and often work on innovative forms of capital raising, such as social bonds and equity crowdfunding.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Wong; David Flacks

Testimonials

‘The depth of expertise across the bench at Flacks & Wong is hard to match, with each lawyer being an extremely safe pair of hands.’

‘Daniel Wong is efficient and focussed. Always responds in a timely manner.’

‘Small, boutique and nimble, but with significant corporate experience, and the expertise to match.’

‘Very accessible and approachable. Technically very good, and they listen.’

‘Daniel Wong is excellent. He has a very friendly and measured approach, and is technically excellent.’

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 on investigations by the Financial Markets Authority on potential insider conduct breaches involving NZX-listed issuers.
  • Advised the shareholders of Palace Holdings, the vendors, on the sale of property management software business Palace to MRI Software.
  • Advised Tradition Asia Pacific (Pte), a subsidiary of Swiss-listed Compagnie Financière Tradition, on its acquisition of OM Wholesale.

Hesketh Henry

Hesketh Henry’s advisory services are ‘always timely and pragmatic, with definitive outcomes’. The team advises corporates, SME’s and private equity funds on trans-Tasman M&A, leveraged buy outs, management buy outs and venture capital investments. Erich Bachmann has over 30 years’ experience in corporate law and is the go-to counsel for foreign clients, in particular investors from Germany and other German-speaking nations in relation to M&A, investments and business contracts. Kate Telford also has extensive experience in advising clients in relation to acquisitions, disposals, and investment as part of the Overseas Investment Act. Senior associates Sarah Gibbs and Julika Wahlmann-Smith are both ‘knowledgeable, efficient, pragmatic and timely.’

Practice head(s):

Erich Bachmann; Kate Telford

Other key lawyers:

Julika Wahlmann-Smith

Testimonials

‘Julika Wahlmann-Smith manages the overall account very well and has a wide knowledge of corporate legal matters. ‘

‘Kate Telford has an in depth knowledge of our firm’s constitution and rules and is my first contact for any question from shareholders. She takes into account all aspects of any problem and provides answers that considers all parties and provides insights I wouldn’t have normally considered.’

‘Hesketh Henry provide a range of solutions for us. They are a collaborative firm who understand our business acutely and know how to get the best outcome for our legal issues.’

‘The services from Hesketh Henry are always timely and pragmatic, with definitive outcomes. The various personnel make an effort to understand your business and then overlay their extensive legal expertise for an optimal result. Always available, they go the extra mile every time. Nothing is a bother.’

‘Erich Bachmann and Sarah Gibbs are knowledgeable, efficient, pragmatic and timely, they are always available to offer their services’

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

Work highlights

  • Advising China Animal Husbandry Group, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, in relation to the partial divestment of its shareholding interests in Southland dairy processer Mataura Valley Milk Limited to a2 Milk Company Limited, an NZX-listed company.
  • Advised the shareholders of Soft Tech (NZ) Limited in relation to the sale of their shares in Soft Tech to a new entity, ST Bidco Limited, owned 100% by Compusoft AS.

Webb Henderson

Webb Henderson‘s practice heads Garth Sinclair and Graeme Quigley are highly regarded senior corporate lawyers, each with more than 25 years’ experience specialising in M&A, divestments and joint ventures. The firm is known for its strong involvement advising listed companies, private equity houses and foreign investors in its key sectors; energy, infrastructure, insurance and tech. Henry Willis is also heavily involved in large transactions and securities offerings, and is assisted by senior associate the ‘very capableAshton Goatley on capital raising projects, energy law and regulatory mandates.

Practice head(s):

Garth Sinclair; Graeme Quigley

Other key lawyers:

Henry Willis ; Ashton Goatley

Testimonials

‘Very knowledgeable and thorough. Top quality advice.’

‘Webb Henderson provide us with a team that has the right experience for our transactions with a senior partner (with the experience of many many transactions), a junior partner (with the ability to manage the transaction and do the detail) and a senior associate to provide the resource at a capable level and independently (rather than having a very junior person).’

‘What makes Webb Henderson unique is their ability to bring a really valuable commercial perspective (IT/Telco/Digital services), including a global perspective, alongside their corporate and transactional experience.’

‘Graeme Quigley has advised me on at least 12 transactions and has taught me invaluable lessons in deal making and getting the deal done while looking after my principal’s interests. He is a mentor and voice of reason when all are losing their heads, and I respect his judgement greatly.’

‘Henry Willis is a very capable young partner at Webb Henderson who is able to manage the large amount of work required to make a transaction happen, and to prioritise and resolve issues as they occur. He has a good commercial filter for a lawyer and this has benefitted us in our deals.’

‘Ashton Goatley is a senior associate who has picked up the drafting for this transaction and proved to be very capable. He is the second SA I have worked with at Webb Henderson and both have been excellent to work with, indicating that the recruitment process at Webb Henderson is effective and provides the right level of capability to their clients.’

Key clients

SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited

Genesis Energy Limited

Vector Limited

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited

Spark New Zealand Limited

Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation

Stevenson Group Limited

Tomlinson Group Limited

Founding Shareholders of My Food Bag

Work highlights

  • Advised the Guardians in relation to its joint venture with CDPQ (Canada’s second largest pension fund) for the purpose of their joint bid to build and operate the light rail network.
  • Advising Tomlinson Group Argenta Limited and associated interests (each associated with New Zealander Greg Tomlinson) on the sale of all the shares in Argenta Limited, a combined contract manufacturing and contract research provider, specialising exclusively in animal health, to American private equity firm KKR & Co.
  • Advised My Food Bag’s founding shareholders in relation to their role in the IPO and dual listing of My Food Bag on the NZX and ASX.

Lane Neave

Lane Neave is ‘very knowledgeable and provides consistently great service’ across the full gamut of corporate and commercial matters. Co-led by Gerard Dale in Auckland and Claire Evans in Christchurch the firm provides national coverage with the complementary support of its Wellington and Queenstown offices. Dale maintains a busy offshore M&A and investment practice, and continues to work with foreign clients, such as AxFlow Holdings of Sweden and US-based Asplundh Tree Expert, on their acquisition strategies. Evans leads the investment advisory side, and is highly regarded for her expertise in limited partnerships and investment funds. 

Practice head(s):

Gerard Dale; Claire Evans

Testimonials

‘Lane Neave cut though to get to the heart of an issue, bring in the right knowledge and experience, and then provide the guidance that is the essence of what makes them a valuable business partner. There is a philosophy of getting the right results achieved the quickest and most efficiently and only introduce the bureaucracy that is needed.’

‘The Lane Neave practice is capable and responsive to client needs. We really appreciated their knowledgeable advice and prompt turnaround times when drafting documents and dealing with urgent issues. They have a client focused and ‘get it done’ attitude.’

‘The team at Lane Neave are very knowledgeable and provide consistently great service. We have also really appreciated them prioritising our time-critical projects. Claire Evans has been fantastic to deal with and her commercially pragmatic opinions are really valuable. Her and her team are responsive and have an understanding of wider legal and commercial risks, and provide advice in plain English. Lane Neave has a great depth of skill and knowledge in their team.’

Key clients

AxFlow Holdings AB

Banzpay Technology Operations Limited

Bathurst Resources Limited

Brown Brothers Engineering Limited

BT Mining Limited

Canterbury District Health Board

Pegasus Health (Charitable) Limited

Public Trust

Stonewood Group Limited

Stonewood Capital Limited

Work highlights

  • Working with Credit Union Baywide to execute a transaction for the acquisition of a number of credit unions and then the effective takeover, restructure, transfer of assets and disestablishment of an association of credit unions and its associated holding and operating entities to bring them within that credit union.
  • Advising ABW Holdings Limited (ABW) as the majority shareholder in Seed Force Limited (and an Australian subsidiary) on the sale of its shareholding to a subsidiary of RAGT, a French multinational seeds provider. The transaction involved negotiations between parties in New Zealand Australia and France and was notable for the degree of complexity in the earn out provisions.
  • Advised ASX Listed Bathurst Recourses Limited (BRL) on the issue of AUD convertible bonds to wholesale investors. Lane Neave advised BRL on the legal aspects of the structuring and funding arrangements for the bonds which were being issued to preserve working capital as COVID-19 started to impact the extractives industry and during a period of historically lower export pricing.

Tompkins Wake

Tompkins Wake continues to develop its corporate expertise and grow its capital raising capabilities with its recent launch of Wayfinder, a new initiative dedicated to helping emerging companies/start-ups raise capital. Highlights include Hamilton-based practice head Mark Renner advising NZX listed Allied Farmers on its purchase of a 50% interest in New Zealand Rural Land Management LP. Tom Arieli leads the Auckland office and handles a wide variety of complex commercial transactions on behalf of large corporates, Māori businesses and private clients. Mark Lowndes is another key M&A advisor in Auckland, he acted for Waipa Network on its sale of its 15% shareholding in Ultrafast Fibre Limited, and Bryce Davey and Kerri Dewe are the other key figures in the Auckland team. 

Practice head(s):

Mark Renner

Testimonials

‘TW has a variety of experts who we have tapped to provide assistance in many different fields from property, immigration, acquisitions and disputes. Every matter is assigned to someone who is qualified and experianced in that field and we have been pleased with the outcomes. TW has introduced a cloud-based file management system for tracking the various property leases we deal with.’

‘I’ve enjoyed working with Tom Arieli over many years and have found his counsel valuable and reliable. He is able to provide the legal view, with a good balance of commercial practicality. ‘

Key clients

Hillfarrance Venture Capital

Company-X Ltd

Vivo Beauty Limited

Better Eggs Limited

WEL Networks

Wirecard NZ Limited

Barfoot & Thompson Limited

Waipa Networks

Work highlights

  • Advised Hillfarrance on all aspects of setting up in New Zealand and the establishment of its venture fund, including structuring issues, insurance, AML processes and investor onboarding. Hillfarrance Venture Capital is a new early-stage fund recently established in New Zealand. Hillfarrance is focused on investing in diverse entrepreneurs building sustainable and defensive business models that democratise new technology.
  • Acted on the sale of Wirecard NZ’s business to ASX listed Change Financial. Wirecard NZ was tipped into administration due to the insolvency of its German parent.
  • Advised Vivo Beauty Limited on an investment by Castlerock Partners. Vivo Beauty Limited is New Zealand’s largest hair and beauty business.

Wynn Williams

Wynn Williams combines ‘dynamic, personalised services and competitive rates‘ with a broad range of expertise in acquisitions, divestments, commercial contracting, private equity and venture capital transactions. Clientele is mostly made up of leading New Zealand private equity houses such as Maui Capital, Milford Private Capital and Castlerock Partners. Ash Hill  is the key adviser on M&A and establishment of funds. Hayley Buckley ‘s position as ‘an exceptional corporate and M&A partner’ and a specialist in equity crowd funding earned her a position as Future Director for 2020 and 2021  at the New Zealand Stock Exchange. Stephen Lowe  is another core partner in the Auckland based practice.

Practice head(s):

Ash Hill

Other key lawyers:

Hayley Buckley; Stephen Lowe

Testimonials

‘Hayley Buckley is an exceptional corporate and M&A partner who is responsive and delivers great service every time.’

‘Wynn Williams is a large firm so it has the breadth and depth of expertise to handle all the matters we need NZ assistance on. They combine that with dynamic, personalised services and competitive rates and are great people to deal with.’

 

Key clients

Infrastructure Capital Group Limited

Orora Limited

Hall’s Group Limited

Snowball Effect Limited

Maui Private Equity

Smart Environmental Limited

Overdose Digital

Southern Cross Horticulture Limited

Invivo & Co Limited

Electric Kiwi Limited

Auldhouse Computer Training Limited

Castlerock Partners

Work highlights

  • New Zealand legal advisor to ASX listed Orora Limited on the sale of its Australasian fibre business to Japanese firm, Nippon Paper.
  • Advising NEP on its purchase of the outside broadcasting unit of Sky Network Television Limited and a 10-year service agreement between NEP and Sky.
  • Acted for Smart Environmental on its joint venture with Northland Waste for its successful tender for long-term waste and refuse services to Auckland Council for Auckland and the upper North Island region. We also acted as counsel to the incorporated joint venture entity (Northern Environmental Limited).