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The Dispatch: March 2022

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Welcome to the March 2022 edition of The Dispatch. 2022 is off to a flying start with a number of ‘first of its kind’ deals in the market and strong continuing relationships.

Starting with a big one - the largest-ever super fund merger. Sarah Yu and Rhys Casey assisted QSuper and Sunsuper to navigate the complexities of the industry’s biggest and most complex union to-date, becoming Australian Retirement Trust with over $200 billion in assets. A strategic merger of equals unlike previous deals, the transaction is leading discussions about expected further consolidation in the super sector.

Mark McNamara, Anthony Boogert and Yuen-Yee Cho assisted EQT with their fourth transaction to date, further strengthening the relationship between KWM and EQT. EQT’s $1 billion acquisition of Stockland’s retirement living business will immediately make EQT one of the largest players in retirement living in Australia .

Two major financing deals to report. In a ‘first of its kind’ transaction in the Asia Pacific market, Andrew Maynes supported Reliance Rail in refinancing its existing bank debt facilities with a $1.8 billion, 21-year Green Sustainability-Linked Loan – supporting Reliance Rail’s ambitious ESG strategies and eliminating potential future refinancing risk. And, Claire Rogers and Jeff Clark have advised the financiers supporting Sydney Airport and Sydney Aviation Alliance’s $32 billion acquisition of the airport, helping to raise $4.4 billion of new debt in support of the landmark deal.

In R&I, Tim Klineberg & team this week see the first interim dividend in their $21m recapitalisation of Disability Services Australia. The deal to rescue the vital service provider amid last year’s covid surge secured a rare 100 cents in the dollar coverage of DSA’s liabilities via voluntary administration.

Tim Sherman has advised HT&E on their $307 million acquisition of the radio and digital operations of Grant Broadcasters, enabling the creation of a national broadcast network of scale with 58 radio stations across 33 markets.

Capital raising activity continues – David Eliakim and Amanda Isouard are acting for Abacus Property Group in relation to its $200 million placement and a share purchase plan to raise up to $15 million. Abacus Property Group is a diversified Australian REIT with an investment portfolio concentrated in the Self-Storage and Office sectors.

Amid what promises to be an interesting period for markets, some interesting reading on how dealmaking navigated the pandemic and what to expect in 2022 – KWM’s 11th DealTrends report on the Australian private M&A market is now available in a digital and interactive format.

Attracting plenty of attention in the projects space, climate litigation is again in the news. The Full Federal Court struck down the ‘duty to consider climate change’ in the Sharma case. Analysing the impacts, KWM’s experts featured prominently. Sati Nagra provided swift and considered commentary to the AFR. Claire Rogers, Erin Eckhoff & Lucy Forbes offered a deeper analysis.

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