Welcome to the first edition of The Dispatch: a monthly wrap up of the latest transactions across the firm and insights into market trends.
In the record value and volume of deals in 2021, what do we see? Change driving opportunity in technology, healthcare, infrastructure, and resources and energy sectors where activity has been frenetic. Change too in the market participants, with rapid growth in deal-doing from the organisations entrusted with our long-term interests – superannuation and pension funds.
Starting with technology, Australia’s biggest deal of the year was done by David Friedlander, Nicola Charlston and Anthony Boogert, advising Square on its $39 billion takeover of Buy Now Pay Later success story Afterpay, a deal which brings Square into greater competition with the banks.
The tech and startup sectors are watching proposed privacy and merger law reforms especially closely. KWM’s Digital Future summit heard firsthand from outgoing ACCC Chair Rod Sims and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk what they’re trying to achieve. Worth a watch.
The summit also explored the rapid evolution of payments. What direction will they take? KWM recently assisted the RBA, CBA, NAB, Perpetual and Consensys in their examination of a wholesale central bank digital currency, using distributed ledger technology to test a CBDC and its use to fund, settle and repay a tokenised, syndicated loan. This experiment demonstrates significant potential for the digital economy.
In a major demonstration of strong infrastructure interest among pension funds, David Eliakim, Mark Upfold and Adrian Perkins helped Transurban and the Sydney Transport Partners consortium of super and pension funds take full ownership of Westconnex in a $10 billion deal for NSW’s largest private road network.
From transport to energy and resources – two major deals reflect a sector in flux. Heath Lewis, David Friedlander and Alan Murray worked with Woodside on its proposed merger with BHP Petroleum - creating the largest energy company to be listed on the ASX. Anticipating rising demand, Mark McNamara and Paul Schroder helped 29 Metals to become a single copper-focused mining company with their IPO and ASX listing.
To support our clients’ adaption to the climate imperative, in May KWM’s corporate governance group produced a valuable resource on corporate climate disclosures. Want the analysis? Will Heath, Daisy Mallett and Emma Newnham explain the disclosure litigation risk in this AFR op-ed.
One more of those to close (for now)… As we consider what 2022 has in store, The Seventh Great M & A Wave is a compelling examination of the factors driving the current boom, compared to those past. How long will this one last?