Corporate and M&A in New Zealand

Bell Gully

Bell Gully has 'the pre-eminent corporate practice in New Zealand', according to one client, who remarks that 'the advice is outstanding and the partners do not seek to grandstand - they simply do the best deal for their clients'. Department head Torrin Crowther in Auckland and his deputy Amon Nunns in Wellington oversee a team that is home to some of the market's most respected practitioners. In Auckland, Anna Buchly and James Gibson were the lead partners in two landmark corporate transactions - Vodafone's NZ$3.4bn sale of its local subsidiary and Apax Partners LLP's NZ$2.56bn takeover of Trade Me. Brynn Gilbertson and Glenn Joblin are also leading lights in the market. James Cooney and rising star senior associate Jennifer Coote are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Torrin Crowther; Amon Nunns

Other key lawyers:

Anna Buchly; James Gibson; Brynn Gilbertson; Glenn Joblin; James Cooney; Toby Sharpe; Chris Goddard; Simon Watt; Amon Nunns

Testimonials

“The firm has experience, knowledge and focus on obtaining a commercial and practical outcome.”

“Brynn Gilbertson is truly a trusted advisers who knows his stuff and who makes it his business to understand their client’s business.”

“James Cooney is  very highly regarded for his commercial approach and technical expertise.”

“Jennifer Coote is a standout senior associate who has a mind like a steel trap – her attention to detail and understanding of deals is second to none.”

“The Bell Gully team is highly responsive to our needs and provides well thought out advice. No matter what the issue is, we can rely on Bell Gully to have someone on the team who can help us.”

“Toby Sharpe is our main contact. He stands out in that despite him often having numerous client priorities, we never feel that our work is given less than the appropriate priority level by Toby and his team.”

“Amon Nunns and team are without peer across the spectrum. They provide clear concise and advice with no hassles, and they are commercially orientated.”

“Amon Nunns has a great team around him but Amon is the ‘go-to’ practitioner.”

Key clients

Vodafone Group Plc

Apax Partners

AIA

Resolution Life

Haier 690

Fletcher Building Limited

Cigna Corporation

Contact Energy

Goodman Fielder

SKYCITY Entertainment Group

Mitsui & Co Limited

GWA Group Limited

Platinum Equity

Westland Co- Operative Dairy Limited

Foley Family Wines

GlaxoSmithKline

GraphPad

Hellers Limited

Sargon Capital Pty

Anixter International Inc

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.
  • Advised British private equity firm Apax Partners LLP on their successful bid for New Zealand’s largest e-commerce company, Trade Me.
  • Advised AIA International on the AUD3.8bn acquisition of the Sovereign life insurance businesses.
  • Acted for Resolution Life in the New Zealand aspects of this acquisition of AMP’s wealth protection and mature businesses.
  • Advised Haier 690, a company listed on the Shanghai stock exchange, on its acquisition of 100% of Haier New Zealand Investment Holding Company Limited.

Buddle Findlay

Clients of Buddle Findlay praise its 'cohesive service offering, with strong project management and coordination to ensure have easy and proactive access to experts across disciplines'. They further note that 'it is not just a legal view they bring to the table, they really understand the commercial imperatives of what they are doing'. The firm handles the full spectrum of domestic and cross-border corporate transactions for mid-sized businesses, listed issuers, banks and financial institutions, and government agencies. In Auckland, practice head Simon Vodanovich and the vastly experienced Grant Dunn are standout practitioners. Up-and-coming partners Nick Bragg and Sarah McEwan, along with rising star senior associate Benjamin Sutton, are highly recommended. Steve Nightingale in Wellington and Mark Odlin in Christchurch also play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Simon Vodanovich

Other key lawyers:

Grant Dunn; David Thomson; Nick Bragg; Lisette Hood; Steve Nightingale; Mark Odlin; Sarah McEwan; Benjamin Sutton; Rupert Rouch; Andy Martin

Testimonials

“Simon Vodanovich and Nick Bragg have both been brilliant to deal with over the years. They bring a wealth of practical experience and genuinely work as business partners.”

“They are all stars – easy to work with, proactive and on top of the detail. They are commercial problem solvers and are hugely dedicated and committed to working with clients to drive results.”

“Among the standout partners are Sarah McEwan, Nick Bragg, Simon Vodanovich and Steve Nightingale.”

Key clients

SKY Network Television

Infratil Limited

GE Capital

Chevron Corporation and Chevron New Zealand (until its sale to Z Energy)

Auckland Council

New Zealand Post Group

Vodafone New Zealand

Goldman Sachs

NZX

Pencarrow Private Equity

H.R.L. Morrison & Co Limited

Z Energy Limited

Nongfu Spring Co. Ltd

The Growth Fund

Zespri

NZ Post

Contact Energy

Work highlights

  • Advising a consortium comprising of Infratil Limited and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. on the NZ$3.4bn acquisition of Vodafone New Zealand Limited.
  • Acting for Infratil Limited on its full NZ$720m takeover offer (with Mercury NZ Limited) for Tilt Renewables Limited.
  • Advised LINX Cargo Care on its acquisition of the Pedersen Group’s wood chipping and woodyard management business in Australia and New Zealand, owned by Maui Capital.  
  • Advised Trinity MRI Limited, one of three consortium members jointly selling their specialist radiology businesses to Integral Diagnostics Limited.
  • Advised Nu Mega Ingredients (NZ) Limited on its investment in Melody Dairies Limited Partnership, a limited partnership established to fund the construction of a second nutritional spray drying facility in Waikato Innovation Park, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Chapman Tripp

Chapman Tripp has one of the largest corporate and commercial practices in New Zealand, and it has long-standing relationships with some of the country's largest corporate entities including private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, and a large proportion of companies in the NZX 50. It is recognised as a market leader in both M&A and equity capital markets. Tim Tubman in Auckland leads the corporate practice and co-leads the firm's China desk. John Strowger is recommended for corporatisation and privatisation exercises, including M&A deals and IPOs. Corporate and securities law expert Roger Wallis, property market ECM and M&A specialist Pip EnglandRachel Dunne who is a leading light in equity capital markets work, up-and-coming partners Joshua Pringle and Lauren Curtayne are also central to the Auckland group, as is Nick Letham in Christchurch. Geof Shirtcliffe is the key partner in Wellington.

Practice head(s):

Tim Tubman

Testimonials

“They have quality clients and work on quality projects, so that builds a knowledge base and experience that we can draw on for our own complex projects.”

“The firm has a depth of experience across the team and is not afraid to pull in subject matter experts when needed on a deal.”

“Rachel Dunne is highly engaged in capital markets and M&A lawyer. She is a thought leader and is engaged in industry initiatives such as the 2029 Capital Markets review and helps me in my Listed Companies Association role when we think about capital markets regulatory reform.”

“Rachel Dunne, along with Pip England, also recently demonstrated strong capabilities in M&A in our recent sale of Tip Top; which produced an outstanding result for us and our shareholders.”

Key clients

ANZ

AMP

Mercury Energy

PGG Wrightson

Royal Dutch Shell

Tegel

Trilogy International

Vector Limited

WSP Global Inc

Z Energy

NZ Superannuation Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised Shell New Zealand on all aspects of its NZ divestment programme, including the various separate divestments and overall regulatory strategy.
  • Advised ANZ Bank New Zealand on its sale of OnePath Life NZ for NZ$700m to specialist global insurer Cigna Corporation.
  • Advised AMP on the sale of its wealth protection and mature life business in Australia and NZ, AMP Life, to Resolution Life Group for AUD3.3bn.
  • Advising PGG Wrightson (PGW) on its latest deal to sell its seed and grain business to leading global seeds group DLF Seeds for NZ$421m.
  • Advised Mercury on all aspects of the sale of its smart-metering business, Metrix, to intelliHUB Group for a cash consideration of NZ$270m

MinterEllisonRuddWatts

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is 'highly responsive and brings a strong commercial overlay to legal advice'. The firm advises major international corporations, local trade buyers, listed companies, financiers and private equity funds on large and complex corporate transactions. It is also highly regarded for its advice on capital markets and corporate governance matters. Silvana Schenone in Auckland (who is 'excellent, personable and gets it done') and Rodney Craig in Wellington are the lead partners. Schenone is a leading player in large M&A and ECM transactions, while Craig is heavily involved in the SME market, particularly for high-growth technology businesses. In Auckland, Cathy QuinnMark Stuart and Cameron Taylor are among the standout partners handling high-profile domestic and cross-border transactions. Senior associate Igor Drinkovic and, in Wellington, up-and-coming partner John Conlan in Wellington is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Silvana Schenone; Rodney Craig

Other key lawyers:

Mark Stuart; Neil Millar; Mark Forman; Cameron Taylor; John Conlan; Benjamin Jacobs; Igor Drinkovic

Testimonials

“Mark Stuart is one of the best lawyers we have dealt with in Australia and NZ. He is highly responsive, brings extensive knowledge of NZ law, is able to deal with with multiple stakeholders, and is very commercial in the way he provides advice.”

“It has a very focused and knowledgeable team. It is focused on deliverables and being right, while also being commercial. It compares very favourably to other firms.”

“In our experience, the firm is a top-tier law firm across all of its divisions. We have engaged their services for a number of years as they know our industry and their advice is prompt, commercial and reliable: they solve problems and get things done.”

“Compared to other law firms that we have instructed, the firm is responsive, delivering on its undertaking to provide the advice required within the specified timeframe.”

“The team, led by Neil Millar, provided a high calibre of advice that was key to the deal’s success.”

The firm has a top-tier team. The lawyers are always available, cover all areas of corporate, M&A and general commercial advice, and are extremely well connected. They are able to get deals done when others might not.”

“Neil Millar and Marilyn Mrkusich are top-tier lawyers, who provide exceptional advice and are always available. They provide practical solutions and are commercially astute, with an ability to get deals done in pragmatic way. They are well connected and respected.”

Key clients

Zespri Group Limited

Peters Ice cream

ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited

Z Energy Limited

OneFortyOne Plantations Holdings Pty Limited

Engender Technologies Limited

TOMRA Systems ASA

MediaWorks Investments Limited

CSR Limited

Brookfield Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Advised Zespri Group Limited on its share offer and buy-back programme, which was aimed at strengthening the kiwifruit industry’s foundations.
  • Advised Froneri, a joint venture between Nestle and PAI Partners, in its successful NZ$385m bid to purchase Tip Top.
  • Acted for ANZ in relation to the sale of the ANZ Securities business to First NZ Capital, and the entry into a strategic alliance and referral agreement between ANZ and First NZ Capital.
  • Advised New Zealand’s largest fuel retailer, Z Energy, on the acquisition of a majority stake in electricity retail business Flick Electric Co.
  • Advised OneFortyOne Plantations Holdings on its acquisition of 100% of the shares in leading forestry business Nelson Forests Limited from Nelson Properties Limited for US$815m.

Russell McVeagh

Russell McVeagh has 'a highly capable and personable team across all functions and disciplines, and it takes client relationships as very important'. The firm handles high-stakes corporate transactions for large domestic and cross-border clients, among which are Spark, Fonterra and Pacific Equity Partners. In Auckland, practice head David Hoare and key partners Dan Jones and Joe Windmeyer  (who is 'the one for difficult questions for leading corporates - he has done more takeovers than anyone') are standout practitioners. Up-and-coming partner Ben Paterson (who is 'an outstanding relationship manager and highly competent deal executor') is highly recommended. In Wellington, Mei Fern Johnson is a respected partner for M&A, restructuring and joint ventures.

Practice head(s):

David Hoare

Other key lawyers:

Joe Windmeyer; Dan Jones; Mei Fern Johnson; David Raudkavi; Ian Beaumont; Ben Paterson; Liz Blythe; Lance Jones; Gareth Worthington; Rochelle Roiri; Isaac Stewart; Hamish Beckett

Key clients

Pacific Equity Partners

Manuka Health New Zealand

Fonterra Co-Operative Group Limited

Tilt Renewables

Trustpower

Bath Street Capital

Bounty Fresh Group

CHAMP Private Equity

Heartland Bank

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Guardians of New Zealand Super Fund

Spark New Zealand

TradeMe

Lion

Kiwirail

Work highlights

  • Advised the board of TradeMe on its takeover, by way of scheme of arrangement (NZ$2.7bn), by Apax Partners – New Zealand’s largest public company takeover to date.
  • Advised Carlyle on the New Zealand aspects of their AUD1bn acquisition of the Accolade Wines group.
  • Advised Goodman Property Trust, as 51% shareholder of Wynyard Precinct Holdings Limited, in relation to the sale of all of the shares in Wynyard Precinct Holdings Limited to Blackstone for NZ$635m.
  • Advised PaySauce on all aspects of the reverse listing of PaySauce Limited on the NZX Main Board via listed shell Energy Mad Limited.
  • Advised Heartland Bank on the corporate restructure of Heartland Bank and its subsidiaries by way of a court-approved scheme of arrangement to create a banking and a non-banking group, and to facilitate a Foreign Exempt Listing on ASX.

Simpson Grierson

Simpson Grierson has 'a great all round team covering the key bases for any corporate transaction'. The firm has one of the largest corporate practice in New Zealand and it active in major transactions involving private equity, public and private M&A, capital markets, business restructuring and commercial infrastructure projects. It has niche expertise in key industry sectors such as dairy, mining, forestry, infrastructure, aged care and insurance, and advises both SMEs and larger corporates. In Auckland, practice head Michael Pollard is a leading light in public capital markets, private equity and general M&A transactions. James Hawes and Andrew Matthews are also highly recommended. In Wellington, head of  equity capital markets Don Holborow and up-and-coming partner Catherine Shirley-Brown, who recently joined from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP in London, stand out.

Practice head(s):

Michael Pollard

Other key lawyers:

James Hawes; Andrew Matthews; Don Holborow; Robert McLean; Catherine Shirley-Brown; Victoria Anderson

Testimonials

“The team combined really well with a good balance of senior input when needed, supported by excellent engagement by the supporting resources. Also the level of the supporting resources was very strong and far better than that seen on the counterparty teams.”

“A real key with any engagement is actually getting commitment from the partner you engaged. This team showed excellent senior engagement. The team was able to bring in specialist expertise as needed and in a timely manner.”

“The individuals worked collaboratively with no sense of trying to demonstrate they were smarter than everyone or letting their ego get in the way. The team engaged with client at a very personal level, which was vital in this transaction, and yet executed to the highest level with counterparties.”

“Catherine Shirley-Brown is a standout corporate lawyer who combines detailed legal knowledge with commercial acumen. She is a great person to have on your side.”

“The firm has a range of skills, approaches and depth of experience. It tailors its approach to the individual client and the lawyers work to their strengths. They have a partnership approach, working closely with the client.”

“Individually, the lawyers are very personable, collaborative and innovative.”

“It has a breadth of experience and recognised capability in key areas, as well as a willingness to deliver constructive advice quickly and in a form which is digestible for lay persons.”

Key clients

Adamantem Capital Pty Limited

Arena Investors LP

Citigroup Global Markets

Livingbridge Capital

CHAMP Ventures

ASB Bank Limited

Archer Capital

Graycliff Partners

Macquarie Securities (NZ) Ltd

OMV NZ Ltd

Heritage Lifecare

Oceania Healthcare

Livestock Improvement Co-operative

The a2 Milk Company

DLF Seeds

nib Limited

Partners Life

Auckland Council

Wellington City Council

Christchurch City Council

Rayonier

Matariki Forests

MARS

BP Oil Co Ltd

Counties Power

Transpower

Watercare Services

Baker & McKenzie

Clayton Utz

Tait Limited

Fletcher Building

Westpac (Westpac Banking Corporation; Westpac New Zealand Ltd)

Work highlights

  • Advised Methven Limited on its NZ$118m takeover by ASX-listed GWA Group through a scheme of arrangement.
  • Acted for Finaccess Capital as the ultimate parent of the offeror in the NZ$885m partial takeover offer for up to 75% of the shares in Restaurant Brands Limited.
  • Acted for the joint underwriters – Macquarie Securities (NZ Limited), First NZ Capital Group Limited and Deutsche Craigs Limited – in the block trade sale of shares by Oceania Healthcare Holdings Limited.
  • Acted for underwriter group – Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Forsyth Barr Group Limited, Forsyth Barr Limited – in the AUD300m entitlement offer of ordinary shares in Tilt Renewables Limited, an Australasian electricity generation company.
  • Acted as legal advisor to Adamantem Capital, in the acquisition, structuring, W&I insurance and financing of its acquisition of Hellers Limited.

Anthony Harper

Anthony Harper has a truly national practice with lawyers in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. Led from Christchurch by Chris Dann, who has a particular focus on the transport sector, the practice handles M&A, due diligence, capital raising, corporate structuring, tax structuring, joint ventures, domestic and international supply and distribution arrangements, government and private sector procurement, corporate governance, regulatory compliance and commercial advisory work. In Auckland, David Gould is a standout partner with more than 27 years' experience in the market. Veteran corporate partner Malcolm Hurley and  up-and-coming partners Alexander Campbell and, in Christchurch, Megan Compton are also recommended. 'Its greatest strength is the ability of the team to respond to any number of varied topics from M&A to customer disputes, contract reviews and advice on advertising and marketing campaigns', remarks one client.

Practice head(s):

Chris Dann

Other key lawyers:

Malcolm Hurley; David Gould; Alexander Campbell; Geoff Hosking; Ewe Leong Lim; Gill Goodwin; Megan Compton; Nick Summerfield

Testimonials

“The firm has excellent resource available and a good understanding of our business in the marketplace. They are able to respond quickly with the appropriate level of expertise when needed.”

“Alex Campbell is our main point of contact and is recognised and respected by our in-house legal team. He has a wealth of knowledge on a broad range of topics and we have absolute trust in his ability to provide appropriate advice. We have confidence that when he needs to refer us to another colleague he has ensured that they have the right skills to assist and will monitor the progress of the issue.”

“Alex Campbell is very approachable and puts colleagues at ease when they have difficult topics to deal with. He has the ability to provide advice in a clear and easy to understand manner and we appreciate the effort he puts into maintaining the relationship with us.”

“The firm has broad expertise, provides great partner access and is efficient with work completion and, therefore, cost management.”

“It provides great partner access and work is well directed amongst other expert partners, who provide practical and innovative solutions. Their broad business understanding means legal risks are put into the correct context alongside the need to get on with business or get a deal done.”

Key clients

Scales Corporation Ltd

Daimler AG

IE Money Ltd

Lyttelton Port Company

The Selwyn Foundation

New Zealand Comfort Group

Synlait Milk

Donaghys Ltd

Lion – Beer, Spirits and Wine

Mercedez-Benz New Zealand

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Goodyear & Dunlop Tyres

Much Moore Ice Cream Co Ltd

Obela Fresh Dips and Spreads

Work highlights

  • Acted for Scales Corporation in the sale of its coldstorage businesses, Polarcold Stores Limited and Whakatu Coldstores Limited, to Emergent Cold, a global cold chain company.
  • Provided strategic advice to Longridge Village Partnership, developed all documents, assisted in negotiation with investors, and acted on completion of a substantial retirement village in Paeroa in the North Island.
  • Acted for NZX listed, Chinese minority-owned Synlait Milk Limited in relation to its acquisition of the assets and business of boutique manufacturer, Talbot Forest Cheese, including property, plant and equipment, IP and customer relationships.
  • Acted for Scales Corporation on the establishment of a petfood ingredients joint venture with Alliance Group Limited, a leading farmer co-operative.
  • Acted for BSA International in the NZ aspect of a global transaction – the acquisition of securities in an established and profitable NZ milk production facility and its trading operations with China.

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand acts for both domestic and international clients in complex corporate and commercial matters. Among its clients are multinationals, listed companies, private equity funds, private entities, charitable entities, government agencies, financial institutions and banks, and high net-worth individuals. Cross-border M&A specialist Martin Thomson in Auckland and Rachel Taylor in Wellington, who frequently advises listed companies and other public issuers, insurers, trustees, Crown entities, registrars and other corporates, are the lead partners. Martin Wiseman in Auckland is a long-term adviser to Foodstuffs North Island Limited, which dominates the domestic grocery market and is the country's second largest business. Pfizer and General Electric are also among his clients. Reuben Woods has extensive expertise in private equity, venture capital and iwi matters.

Practice head(s):

Martin Thomson; Rachel Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Martin Wiseman; Reuben Woods; Pavanie Edirisuriya; Sam Wilson; Jonathan Pitts; Neisha Mistry

Key clients

Seequent Limited

Ngai Tahu

Mitre 10

Accel-KKR

Finistere Ventures

IAG New Zealand (NZ’s largest general insurer)

TRG Renewable Resources New Zealand (The Rohatyn Group) (New York headquartered fund manager)

TOWER Limited (listed on the NZX)

AIG Insurance

Pfizer New Zealand Limited (global DLA Piper client)

Auckland Council (and its Council Controlled Organisations)

Farmers’ Mutual Group

Mondelez New Zealand (global DLA Piper client)

General Electric (global DLA Piper client)

Newell Brands (global DLA Piper client)

Yashili Group

Yorkshire Dairy Goats

Foodstuffs North Island Limited (NZ’s largest supermarket group and NZ’s second largest company/employer)

Yamaha Motor Ventures & Labaratory Silicon Valley, Inc.

Dechra Pharmaceuticals Plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for Accel-KKR on the acquisition of the Seequent Group.
  • Advised Palisade Investment Partners Limited on its acquisition of a significant stake in the Hawaiki cable for approximately US$60m.
  • Acted for Foodstuffs in a long-term fuel supply arrangement with Z Energy.
  • Acted for the sellers in the sale of Rees Management Limited.
  • Acted for Accel-KKR and its portfolio company, Seequent Limited, in connection with Seequent’s acquisition of Geosoft, a Canadian-based software company.

Harmos Horton Lusk Limited

Harmos Horton Lusk Limited is highly regarded corporate law boutique that focuses on high-end transactional work, including some of the largest and most complex matters in the market. The firm specialises in M&A transactions; the structuring, public offering and underwriting of listed and unlisted securities; public and private capital raisings; board-level strategic and governance advice; and compliance with New Zealand’s foreign investment and financial services regimes. Among its key clients are The a2 Milk Company and Silver Fern Farms Limited. Andrew Harmos and special counsel Greg Horton are the key contacts, while directors Paul Oldfield, Tim Mitchelson, Nathanael Starrenburg and Annie Steel play central roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Harmos; Nathanael Starrenburg; Tim Mitchelson; Annie Steel

Other key lawyers:

Tim Mitchelson; Emma Barnett; Jason Maddox

Key clients

Abano Healthcare Group Limited

AFT Pharmaceuticals Limited

Argosy Property Limited

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare 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

Work highlights

  • Advised Restaurant Brands and its independent directors in relation to their response to Finaccess Capital SA de CV’s NZ$881.5m 75% partial takeover of Restaurant Brands New Zealand Limited.
  • Acted for Fulton Hogan Limited in its acquisition of the quarrying, aggregate, concrete and transport business of Stevenson Group Limited.
  • Advised The a2 Milk Company Limited on on all strategic and New Zealand legal aspects of its NZ$161.8m, 8.28% strategic shareholding in Synlait Milk Limited, including negotiation of the transaction and drafting of transaction documents.
  • Acted for Grafton Health Holdings on its NZ$111m full takeover of NZX-listed Orion Health Group Limited.
  • Acted for Pushpay and Eliot Crowther in the NZ$100m block trade of all shares owned by interests associated with co-founder and executive director Eliot Crowther.

Dentons Kensington Swan

'The corporate team is particularly client-oriented, pragmatic and patient', says a client of Dentons Kensington Swan. Another describes the lawyers as 'professional, experienced and easy to work with'. The firm handles cross-border M&A and a broad range of domestic acquisitions and joint ventures. Chris Parke and David Lewis are the key partners in Auckland. Parke frequently advises overseas clients investing in New Zealand, while Lewis has extensive experience in the health, sports, finance, and retail sectors. Newly promoted partner Heida Donegan is a cross-border investment specialist whom clients describe as 'a first-class China specialist and a "go-to" lawyer'.  Martin Dalgleish, who acts for numerous clients in the transport, logistics and the energy sectors, and veteran corporate, finance and restructuring partner David Shillson lead the practice in Wellington.

Practice head(s):

Chris Parke; David Lewis; Martin Dalgleish; David Shillson

Other key lawyers:

Heida Donegan; Campbell Featherstone; Nick Scott

Testimonials

“They are committed to thoroughly understand our business and commercial needs before they start working on each deal.”

“Heida Donegan is qualified to practise law in the UK, HK and New Zealand, holds a doctorate in corporate law, and has considerable experience in handling complex cross-border M&A transactions. She understands our business needs, is passionate about helping us achieve success, and we really admire her perseverance, resilience and professionalism.”

“The firm has enormous experience, with a focus on pragmatic outcomes. Many similar partnerships seem intent of theoretical thinking rather than practical outcomes. KensingtonSwan focuses on the most direct path to a meaningful outcome.”

“Nick Scott consistently gives great advice and will do whatever it takes to get to a meaningful outcome. He is available day and night, and offers pragmatic advice based on decades of experience.”

“Kensington Swan’s lawyers do not only have a fantastic knowledge of the market, but are also very smart, diligent and pragmatic. They are particularly client-centric and attentive to detail.”

“We highly recommend Heida Donegan as our trusted and go-to lawyer. She is a very talented practitioner who is extremely client-focused. Her excellent business acumen and ability to get to the bottom of the issues of each transaction she works on have proven to be invaluable to our business advancement.”

“I have used Kensington Swan since we established our company in 2016 because it has a very strong team and a good reputation in this field.”

“Heida Donegan is one of the best lawyers we cooperate with in New Zealand. I was impressed by her integrity and wisdom, and she helped us complete the legal process for the formation of the company. In business, she helped us control the risk of contracts and showed very strong ability.”

“The team is highly professional and knowledgeable, and takes care of its clients. It can think about and solve the problems from the perspectives of the client and across different cultures and legal practices.”

“Heida Donegan is one of the most professional, capable, knowledgeable, hardworking and resourceful counsels we have ever engaged. She has helped us a lot with our projects and initiatives in New Zealand.”

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson

Resimac Limited

Downer

CentrePort Wellington

Danone

Oji Fibre Solutions

Guangxi Fenglin Wood Industry Group

Massey University

George Weston Foods Limited

Michael Hill Jewellers

Whanganui District Council

Airways Corporation of New Zealand

Unison Networks Limited

Brightwater Engineers Limited

St John

China State Construction Engineering Corporation / China Construction New Zealand Limited

Beijing Engineering and Construction Group and BCEGI New Zealand Co., Ltd.

Xiamen ITG Group / Pointer Investment NZ Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising majority shareholders John Chow and Michael Chow on the listing of Chow Group Limited on the NZX Alternative Market.
  • Acted for Downer New Zealand Limited in relation to the negotiation and entry into of a 10-year, high value, national Asset Management and Facilities Management Services agreement with the Department of Corrections and the Ministry of Justice.
  • Acted for Astute Financial Management Pty Limited in the establishment of Astute Financial Management Limited in New Zealand, an incorporated joint venture with Mortgage Express established to operate as a loan aggregator in the New Zealand market.
  • Acted for the developer, 111 Dixon Street Limited, and the developer’s largest shareholder and funder (other than BNZ) in connection with the acquisition and restructuring of the construction contract for the development of the DXN Apartments.
  • Acted for Oji Fibre Solutions (NZ) Limited in relation to its successful application to the Overseas Investment Office for consent to acquire the Stoneleigh Forrest block in the central North Island of New Zealand.

Lowndes

Lowndes, which was founded in 2000 as a corporate and commercial boutique, has senior lawyers with a wealth of experience in advising domestic and international companies, both listed and unlisted, on the full range of matters, from M&A to investment. Lead partner Mark Lowndes, who has 38 years' market experience, is a leading light in M&A, capital raising, private equity, venture capital and angel funding, corporate governance and international investment. Paul Hartland 's broad practice covers Overseas Investment Act, Takeovers Code and other regulatory issues, as well as commercial contracts. Up-and-coming partner Kerri Dewe specialises in M&A, securities law, business establishment and corporate structuring.

Practice head(s):

Mark Lowndes

Other key lawyers:

Paul Hartland; Kerri Dewe

Testimonials

“As General Counsel of a large international company, I have found the team at Lowndes to be absolute life-savers. They are all highly accomplished practitioners, and you can be confident of receiving accurate advice, at the very forefront of the law.”

“The firm is extremely client-focused and ethical, and your file will be handled by a senior associate or partner who is able to provide quick and comprehensive answers which you can rely on.”

“Kerri Dewe is a director of the firm and an outstanding practitioner. She is extremely smart, with the ability to explain complex legal issues in a clear and concise manner. Approachable and professional, with a wonderful calming presence, Kerri takes the time to understand your business, always providing practical and commercially viable solutions.”

Key clients

Huawei Technologies (New Zealand)

Rothbury Group

Barfoot & Thompson Limited

VMG Ventures Limited

Corporate Holdings Limited

Go Car Finance

SIS Australia Group Pty Limited

K One W One Limited

Ando Insurance Group Limited

B. Braun New Zealand Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Finance Investment Group on the sale of all its interest in the Go Car Finance group to ASX-listed purchaser, Money3 Corporation.
  • B. Braun in connection with the acquisition of the business and assets of Diaverum in New Zealand.
  • Advised Te Hua o te Kawariki Trust and  Manea Footprints of Kupe Ltd on the construction and lease of purpose-built buildings, and purchase of equipment and technology, to create an interactive tourism experience creating jobs in Northland telling the history of ‘Kupe’.
  • Acted for Myko Limited in the acquisition of the shares in Corporate Holdings Limited.
  • Advised Huawei Technologies (New Zealand) on regulatory issues, cybersecurity and data protection queries, consumer issues and employment matters.

Mayne Wetherell

Mayne Wetherell in Auckland acts for a wide range of domestic and international clients in some of the most significant public and private M&A transactions in New Zealand. The broad scope of its work encompasses listed company takeovers, cross-border and offshore transactions, distressed assets, industry consolidation and major divestments. It has particular expertise in structuring and executing foreign direct investment into New Zealand, including advising on all aspects of the Overseas Investment Act - New Zealand’s foreign investment consenting regime. Matthew Olsen, who  regularly advises client such as KKR and Goldman Sachs (Australia), and Michael Pritchard lead the practice. Michael Harrod left the partnership but now acts as a consultant.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Olsen; Michael Pritchard

Other key lawyers:

Michael Harrod; Simon Horner; Sherryn Harford

Key clients

Macquarie

Avanti Finance

Wraith Capital

Oceanwood Capital

Toyota Finance

KKR

TPG.

Goldman Sachs

The Warehouse Group

Epicurean

Work highlights

  • Acted as legal advisors to Macquarie as purchaser / concession holder in the NZ$220m acquisition of a 30-year concession to operate SKYCITY’s car parks in Auckland.
  • Acted as legal advisor/deal counsel for Wraith Capital providing corporate advice, extensive purchaser due diligence, sale and TSA documentation in the roll up of several security services businesses across New Zealand and Australia into the Optic Security Group.
  • Acted as legal advisors to Avanti Finance as acquirer of Branded Financial Services in the acquisition of all of the shares in Branded Financial Services by Avanti Finance.
  • Advised Avanti Finance during a minority equity investment.
  • Advised Oceanwood Capital Management on all aspects of the acquisition of a New Zealand business, including obtaining Overseas Investment Act consent for more than $100m of sensitive forestry land.

Webb Henderson

Webb Henderson in Auckland is a specialist corporate law boutique with a strong track record in M&A work, joint ventures, partnerships, investment projects, and energy and infrastructure transactions. The firm has four partners It now has a team of four partners including leading lights Garth Sinclair and Graeme Quigley, along with Michael Gartshore and Henry Willis. The firm acts for many high-profile clients, including Spark and Chorus, in large and complex transactions. The firm has particular expertise in the telecoms, media and technology sectors, though it frequently advises clients in a diverse range of industries including energy. The corporate and finance practice, renamed since the arrival of banking and finance specialist Nicole Xanthopol from Kensington Swan, last year handled deals involving counterparties in multiple jurisdictions including the UK, Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia.

Practice head(s):

Garth Sinclair; Graeme Quigley

Other key lawyers:

Michael Gartshore; Henry Willis

Key clients

Sky City Entertainment

Fonterra Cooperative Group

Stevenson Group

Yum! Brands Inc

Oceania Healthcare

Genesis Energy

J C Decaux

The Guardians of NZ Superannuation

Capital Group

Five V Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Stevenson Group Limited on its proposed sale of its construction materials business through a competitive tender process (by way of a divestment of 100% of the shares in Stevenson Construction Materials Limited and Stevenson Properties (2015) Limited).
  • Represented Fonterra Co-operative Group on its acquisition of the remainder of the Darnum joint venture and termination of the joint venture with Beingmate Group.
  • Acted for Kentucky Fried Chicken International Holdings LLC, Taco Bell Corporation and Pizza Hut International LLC as the subsidiaries of Yum! Brands Inc. during their consent process to the sale of Restaurant Brands New Zealand Limited to Finaccess Capital Limited for NZ$881m.
  • Advised JCDecaux, the number one outdoor advertising company worldwide, on the New Zealand aspects of its acquisition of 100% of ASX- listed APN Outdoor Group Limited (the leading Out-of-Home media company in Australia and New Zealand) by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • We advised the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation on the restructuring of its Kaingaroa Timberlands partnership.

Anderson Lloyd

Anderson Lloyd's corporate practice is based largely in its Auckland office, where practice head Chris Bargery is a respected M&A lawyer with particular expertise in private equity, though the firm also provides advice through its Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown offices. Auckland-based senior associate Bede Maher plays a pivotal role in the practice's key transactions, which recently included New Forests Asset Management's high-value acquisition of Hikurangi Forest Farms. 'Having locations across NZ works really well and ensures responsiveness when matters are urgent', remarks a client, who adds that 'there is always someone at hand to help'. The firm handles a broad range of M&A transactions for private equity firms and other institutional investors, and national and international corporates. Its commercial practice has particular strength in industries in the natural resources sectors.

Practice head(s):

Chris Bargery

Other key lawyers:

Bede Maher; Anne McLeod

Testimonials

“Anne McLeod provides great guidance and helps solve those tricky issues that may have a legal aspect but require a carefully considered approach balanced with commercial considerations. She is exactly what I need as the sole in-house counsel in a nationwide retail business.”

“The firm has specialist knowledge in the area we operate in. It is very diligent and provides high attention to detail. It is very good at keeping contact levels appropriate.”

Key clients

New Forests Asset Management Pty Limited

Pioneer Capital Partners

Waimea Irrigators Limited

Mt Difficulty Wines Limited / Endovanerra Limited

Tetra Pak (New Zealand) Limited

Farmlands Co-operative Society Limited

Real Journeys Limited

Port Otago Limited

Tegel Group Holdings Limited

Foodstuffs South Island Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented New Forests on its acquisition of Hikurangi Forest Farms (which owns substantial forestry estates in Gisborne, New Zealand) from Samling Group, a Malaysian-based conglomerate.
  • Advised the shareholders of SNS Investments Limited on the sale of the Pet Doctors veterinary group.
  • Advised Pioneer Capital on the acquisition of a majority shareholding in MoleMap NZ Limited.
  • Advised Pioneer Capital on its acquisition of an interest in Tom and Luke Holdings Limited.
  • Advised Pioneer Capital on its acquisition of an interest in Smartfoods Limited. Smartfoods is a cereal producer which produces cereals under the Vogels brand.

Flacks & Wong

Flacks & Wong is a boutique firm that specialises in corporate law, particularly public takeovers, private M&A deals, corporate governance and capital markets matters. It frequently works alongside larger firms and other boutique practices to play a key role in large transactions, often receiving referrals due its in-depth expertise in corporate law or due to conflicts of interest at larger practices. Matters are always dealt with by senior lawyers, principally the founders Daniel Wong and David Flacks, who together have 37 years' experience gained at Bell Gully. The firm recently hired senior associate Katie Green from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in London. 'Agile and responsive, the firm has a small, adept practice that boasts technical excellence and industry knowhow', remarks a client.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Wong; David Flacks

Other key lawyers:

Katie Green

Testimonials

“An obvious alternative to a large full service firm, with none of the unnecessary trappings and highly leveraged structures.”

“Daniel Wong is a careful and methodical lawyer, who applies the full weight of his considerable intellect to nutting out solutions to thorny legal problems, while maintaining a careful eye on the commercial dimensions to the issue.”

“David Flacks is hugely experienced and brings a relaxed but deeply competent approach.”

“It is a small team who are readily accessible and able to address your specific needs. Daniel Wong is very proactive and able to suggest very practical solutions to contract discussions.”

“The team at Flacks & Wong is highly professional, yet approachable and accommodating to a wide range of client needs. They are efficient, reliable, and are our go-to partner who we refer companies to for legal work.”

“Time and time again they deliver the best result for their clients and always offer a professional experience, leaving clients feeling like they have received the best possible service for a fair fee.”

“Daniel Wong is the best legal partner in our market in my opinion. He can be credited with drafting documentation to solve the needs of clients on several occasions when other legal partners were unable to solve the issues.”

“Daniel Wong is approachable, professional, highly experienced, but most importantly extremely commercial, allowing him to deliver the best results for his clients on every engagement. He always goes above and beyond to get the result for his clients.”

“The firm is dynamic and strategic in its approach. It has fast turnaround times and highly dedicated personnel.”

“Daniel Wong is highly dedicated to his role, focused and experienced.”

“The firm has a top-end corporate team, with excellent M&A, corporate and private equity clients. All lawyers are previously from top-tier full-service firms, with NZ and UK experience.”

Key clients

Archipro

Coretex

Fidelity Life

Impact Enterprise Fund

Keytone Dairy Corporation

Milford Asset Management

Pioneer Capital

Rush Digital

SeaDragon

Serko

Zeffer Brewing

Work highlights

  • Advised the management team of ACG Schools on the sale by Pacific Equity Partners of ACG Schools to Inspired Schools.
  • Advised Keytone Dairy Corporation on its acquisition of the existing business of Keytone Enterprises (NZ) Company, and its contemporaneous listing on the ASX, and IPO in New Zealand and Australia.
  • Advised Oyster Property Group on its joint venture with KKR to acquire the Central Park Corporate Centre.
  • Advised the Special Division of NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal on the reverse listing of the PaySauce business into Energy Mad.
  • Advised Pioneer Capital, as a substantial shareholder of Orion Health, on the Hg Capital transaction.

Hesketh Henry

Hesketh Henry in Auckland is 'a very open, efficient and available firm that offers practical advice on a wide range of legal matters and is able to look at the bigger picture, but still make the advice succinct'. The small team acts for both domestic and international clients across a range of industries, though it has particular expertise in assisting overseas entities moving into the Australasian market through acquisitions or establishing a new business in New Zealand. Managing partner Erich Bachmann, who has more than 30 years' experience in drafting and reviewing business contracts, Kate Telford and Chris Lee  are the lead partners. One client remarks that Bachmann and senior associates Julika Wahlmann-Smith and Sarah Gibbs are regarded as 'honest, learned, reliable and consistent'.

Practice head(s):

Erich Bachmann; Kate Telford; Chris Lee

Other key lawyers:

John Kirkwood; Julika Wahlmann-Smith; Sarah Gibbs

Key clients

AECOM New Zealand Limited

Altus NZ Limited

Dominion Constructors Limited

First Travel Group Limited (now known as FTG 1999 Limited)

Hella New Zealand Limited

Independent Timber Merchants Co-operative Limited

Ingram Micro (N.Z.) Limited

Jennian Homes Limited

Juken New Zealand Limited

Mataura Valley Milk Limited

Morgan Advanced Materials plc

Neuseelandhaus GmbH

TMA Group of Companies Pty Limited

Webscope Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Mr Reinhard Kuhfuß in the sale of his shares in Neuseelandhaus GmbH to Manuka Health New Zealand Limited.
  • Advised TMA Group in relation to lending to, and staged acquisition of True North Limited, a New Zealand print management & procurement company, and Youtopia Technologies Limited, an associated software developer.
  • Acting for First Travel Group Limited (now known as FTG 1999 Limited) on all aspects of the sale of its business and assets to Koala Limited.

Lane Neave

Lane Neave's corporate practice, which is based predominantly in Christchurch, is one of the largest in New Zealand’s South Island. The firm plays a significant role in the non-bank deposit taking sector and recently, the team handled the merger via transfer of engagements of three New Zealand-registered credit unions with Credit Union Baywide. Gerard Dale and Claire Evans are the lead partners and their work spans complex projects, financial markets and contract law, limited partnerships and investment funds, and work for medium-to-large listed and unlisted corporates, not-for-profits, iwi, and ministries and departments of the Crown. Banking and finance partner Evelyn Jones in Auckland plays a key role in areas such as acquisition finance and corporate lending.

Practice head(s):

Gerard Dale; Claire Evans

Other key lawyers:

Graeme Crombie; Evelyn Jones; Anna Ryan; Joelle Grace; Matthew Tolan; Nicola Hardy; Ellen Sewell

Testimonials

“The team has been highly agile and responsive to our needs, including participation in discussions with our governing body on a range of issues we engaged the firm to help us with. The firm’s allocation of the appropriate specialists to different tasks has been very helpful.”

“Danita Ferreira, Claire Evans and Peter Orpin have all been excellent to deal with.”

Key clients

Credit Union Baywide, Credit Union South, and Credit Union Central

Bathurst Resources Limited

Mainland Capital Investment Management Limited

BT Mining Limited

St Andrews Holdings Limited

Mace Engineering Limited

Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust

Public Trust

Woolworths New Zealand Limited / Wholesale Distributors Limited

Bridgewest Group

Work highlights

  • Represented a group of New Zealand credit unions in a transfer of engagements to Credit Union Baywide.
  • Represented Bathurst Resources Limited in relation to an investment into NWP Coal Canada Limited, which carries out coal mining operations in Canada.
  • Established the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust and provided advice to a joint venture responsible for the reconstruction of the Christ Church Cathedral.
  • Represented St Andrews Holdings Limited in relation to the sale of its brewing business to Lion NZ Limited.
  • Represented Windflow Technology Limited, a Christchurch-based wind turbine engineering company, with its delisting from NZAX and the relisting on the Unlisted Securities Exchange (USX).

Tompkins Wake

Tompkins Wake has a broad client base that includes banks, developers, institutional investors, property funds, iwi and local government entities, for which it handles corporate finance, construction projects, commercial developments, commercial acquisitions and disposals, and leasing matters. Mark Renner in Hamilton leads the practice, which provides services to many SME clients. The firm's AdviSME services provides a simplified way for SMEs to access a full range of legal services. M&A specialist Phil Taylor has more than 20 years' experience. Tom Arieli, who is a trusted advisor to businesses and high-net-worth families, and Campbell Izzard, who has experience as a foreign lawyer in China, have boosted the firm's presence in the  Auckland market.

Practice head(s):

Mark Renner

Other key lawyers:

Phil Taylor; Tom Arieli; Campbell Izzard; Philip Monahan; Alaina Soanes

Key clients

NZ Scaffolding Group Limited

The Plant People (2006) Limited

Havas Media Asia Pacific Pte Limited

Tiri Group Limited

Business Life Investment Fund Limited

Open Country Dairy Limited

New Zealand Food Innovation (Waikato) Limited

Holdfast New Zealand

Claymark Limited

UPFintech Holding Limited

Gallagher Group Limited

WEL Networks Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for NZ Scaffolding Group Limited on its merger with Geeves Scaffolding Limited.
  • Acted for Plant People (2006) Limited on the sale of its business.
  • Acted for Havas Media on the acquisition of Catchi.
  • Acted for Tiri Group Limited in its purchase of Winc New Zealand.
  • Acted for Open Country Dairy Limited in the development of a new dairy factory.

Wynn Williams

'This team gets the balance just right between their approach when dealing with other advisors, applying pragmatism during the dealmaking process and being responsive and knowledgable', says a client of Wynn Williams. 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. In Auckland, the 'smart, commercial and efficient' Ash Hill leads the practice and is 'easy to work with and gets the deal done'. He handles complex M&A transactions for major corporates and private investors including Reddy Group and the Ports of Auckland. Nick Kovacevich has moved to found Couch Harlowe Kovacevich.

Practice head(s):

Ash Hill

Other key lawyers:

Hayley Buckley; Stephen Lowe; Tom Corkill

Testimonials

“Ash Hill is a standout partner with whom we have developed deep trust and commitment. The value he adds is not only legal, but he is also able to understand the commercial rationale and cut to the issue quickly, solving it with pragmatism.”

“Tom Corkill is an associate destined to become a successful partner. He is ahead of his years and confidently navigates a deal process, often negotiating and working with advisors across a wide spectrum of low-to-high seniority with ease. He is becoming my ‘go-to’ more and more.”

“The team is very good hands-on at the partner level and is commercial in its approach to situations.”

“Tom Corkill [is] both highly responsive, commercial and offer support above and beyond normal expectations.”

“The firm has a great team of people. Nothing falls through the cracks.”

Key clients

Ports of Auckland

Cardinal Logistics

Cedenco

Electric Kiwi

Bendon

Smart Environmental

Invivo Wines

Reddy Group

Hall’s Group

Snowball Effect

Work highlights

  • Represented Hall’s Group Limited on the sale of its pet food business assets to global food and petfood supplier BHJ.
  • Advising Salus Aviation on its proposed IPO and pre-IPO acquisitions.
  • Advising Bendon on its merger with Naked Group and reverse listing on the Nasdaq.
  • Advising Anglican Care on the sale of its Christchurch residential care facilities to Ryman.
  • Advising Invivo Wines on its investment by Genesis Private Equity.