Jason Watts

Jason Watts

Jason Watts has been a Partner in the Sydney Mergers and Acquisitions practice of King & Wood Mallesons for the last 16 years.  Jason has a broad practice with a focus on public company mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets, governance and private equity. He regularly advises ASX listed entities and their boards on complex restructures, capital raisings, takeovers and mergers, continuous disclosure and corporate governance issues. Jason advises major clients of the firm across a number of sectors including financial services, real estate, health, energy and transport.

Jason has been the lead partner advising on a number of high profile restructures, mergers and takeovers involving both friendly and hostile transactions, downstream acquisitions, cross border mergers and sponsor public to privates.

Jason has lectured in the Takeovers and Reconstructions course in the University of Sydney Masters of Law program since 2016.

Jason is ranked as a leading individual in the Chambers Global Guide in mergers and acquisitions and is named in Best Lawyers in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions law, corporate/governance practice and venture capital law.

Representative matters

Takeovers and mergers

  • Healius in relation to the approach by Partner’s Group
  • Healius in relation to the Jangho’s stake building and subsequent takeover approach
  • Westfield Corporation in its $32 billion merger with Unibail-Rodamco
  • Expedia in its scheme of arrangement to acquire Wotif
  • Westfield Group in the spin out and IPO of Westfield Retail Trust
  • Actividades de Construcción y Servicios, S.A. in its acquisition of Hochtief Aktiengesellschaft and downstream acquisition of Leighton Holdings
  • Primary Health Care in its hostile takeover of Symbion Health
  • Australian Stock Exchange in its merger by scheme with Sydney Futures Exchange
  • Xstrata in its attempted hostile takeover of WMC Resources Limited
  • Veda in its privatisation by PEP and Merrill Lynch
  • Veda (then Baycorp) in the successful defence of the partial takeover bid by Allco Equity Partners
  • Principle Office Fund in its defence of a hostile bid from Investa
  • Challenger in its merger by scheme with CPH Investment Corp
  • Koninklijke KPN N.V. in its takeover of TNT limited
  • Parker & Parsley in its hostile takeover of Bridge Oil Limited

Demergers and restructures

  • Westfield Corporation on the demerger of One Market
  • Westfield Group in its demerger and merger of the ANZ business with Westfield Retail Trust to create Westfield Corporation and Scentre Group
  • Westfield in its merger by stapling to create the Westfield Group
  • CSR in its attempted demerger of CSR Sugar
  • Rinker Group in its demerger from CSR

Private M&A

  • AMP Group in the sale of the AMP Life business to Resolution Life
  • Cura Day Hospitals in a number of bolt on acquisitions of day hospitals
  • Investec in a number of acquisitions and interests in emerging companies
  • RARE infrastructure in the sale of a controlling interest to Legg Mason
  • Puma Energy in its acquisition of Ausfuels
  • Estia Health in its acquisition of the Kennedy aged care and retirement business
  • Primary Health Care in the divestment of the Symbion Consumer and Pharmacy business
  • Veda in the divestment of its collections service business
  • Primary Health Care in various acquisitions and investments in pathology, consumer and pharmacy

Private Equity

  • PAG Asia in its acquisition of Craveable Brands
  • Mercury Capital in its investment in Squiz
  • PAG Asia in its acquisition of the Cheesecake Shop
  • Hellman & Friedman in its approach to Fairfax
  • Quadrant in its acquisition of an interest in the Estia aged care business.
  • KKR in relation to a proposed public to private of Treasury Wines
  • KKR in relation to a proposed public to private of Vocus Communications
  • CVC in its acquisition of PBL’s media assets
  • CVC in its acquisition of the Stella hospitality and travel business
  • Investec in its acquisition of strategic stakes in Millers Retail, Gale Pacific and Strandbags

Equity Capital Markets

  • Bingo Industries in its IPO and listing on ASX
  • Estia Health in its IPO and listing on ASX
  • Virtus in its IPO and listing on ASX
  • Westfield Group in the spin out and listing on ASX of Westfield Corporation
  • Westfield Group in the spin out and IPO of Westfield Retail Trust
  • Primary HealthCare in its $250 million non renounceable entitlement offer
  • Estia Health in its $137million non renounceable entitlement offer
  • FIFE capital in its IPO of the Australian Industrial REIT
  • Challenger in its placement and share purchase plan
  • Challenger in its offers of Additional Tier One capital notes
  • Energy Australia in its proposed IPO
  • Westfield in its $3 billion placement
  • Westfield in its $3 billion accelerated entitlements offer
  • Challenger in its $200 million placement to Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi
  • Challenger in its $460 million placement of hybrid notes and options to Colony
  • Global Ethanol in its attempted IPO
  • Viridis Clean Energy Group in its IPO

Client quotes

  • "A very knowledgeable, pragmatic and client-friendly guy with a great understanding of our structure and people." – Chambers & Partners (2017)
  • "Jason is "constructive and commercial in his responses" and highly prized by clients because "he will sit down with you and work through strategies rather than let it take days, weeks or months." – Chambers & Partners (2016)
  • "Clients are "very comfortable working with" Jason Watts, praising him as a "great, very experienced guy" who is particularly recommended for his adept handling of IPO processes." – Chambers & Partners (2015)
  • "Known for his expertise in both public and privately negotiated M&A deals, and is praised by clients as an "excellent, pragmatic and highly experienced" team leader who works especially hard to understand the businesses he represents and interacts creatively with all parties to a transaction." – Chambers & Partners (2015)

Career history

  • 2012 – present: Partner, King & Wood Mallesons
  • 2004 – 2012: Partner, Mallesons Stephen Jacques
  • 2002- 2003: Senior Associate, Mallesons Stephen Jacques
  • 1999 – 2002: Manager, Strategic Development, Fairfax Digital
  • 1997 – 1999: Senior Associate, Mallesons Stephen Jacques
  • 1992 – 1997: Solicitor, Mallesons Stephen Jacques

Qualifications

  • 1990: Bachelor of Laws, University of Sydney (First Class Honours)
  • 1988: Bachelor of Economics, University of Sydney

Professional memberships

  • Law Society of NSW
  • Law Council of Australia – Business Law Section

Location

Legal insights

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