Legal giants continue work on HK billionaire family’s Australian power play

A Hong Kong consortium has bid $13bn for Australia’s largest gas pipeline company

Legal giants continue work on HK billionaire family’s Australian power play

The ongoing interest of the family of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing in Australian power-sector assets is leading to continuing work for top firms.

Three leading firms are advising on the $12.98bn bid from a Hong Kong consortium for Australia’s largest energy infrastructure company.

Allens is acting for a consortium led by CK Infrastructure (CKI), the largest publicly listed infrastructure company in Hong Kong, which is acquiring the APA Group. CKI’s parent company is CK Hutchison, the Li family’s flagship company. CKI is now led by Victor Li, the older of the patriarch’s two sons. 

Linklaters advised the consortium on their Hong Kong Stock Exchange requirements.

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is legal counsel for APA, which has accepted the takeover offer. The deal, which is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approvals, has been structured by way of a scheme of arrangement. The scheme is expected to be implemented in mid-December.

The deal marks a continuation of the involvement of Allens and KWM in deals that involve CKI. KWM acted for CKI last year, when it led a consortium that took the then ASX-listed DUET Group private for $7.4bn. DUET was advised by Allens.

Projects partner Kate Axup, M&A partners Wendy Rae and Richard Kriedemann, and competition partner Ted Hill lead the Allens team. Rae and senior associate Nick Kefalianos are working on FIRB approval.

The Allens M&A corporate team includes counsel Andrew Wong, associates Sarah Glynn and Elysia Long, and law graduate Bridgette Gorman. The firm’s projects and development team includes senior associate Danielle Jones, associates Kanana Fujimori and Luisa Colosimo, lawyer Rujuta Natu, and law graduate Katy Milne. Senior associate David Mierendorff is part of the competition team.

Axup said that the project adds to Allens’ continue involvement in large-scale infrastructure M&A. CKI has been an investor in Australian infrastructure for nearly two decades, she said.

Stephen Minns, KWM Australia chairman, and M&A partner Will Heath are leading firm’s team.

The APA deal will be the second-largest takeover of an Australian company. Allens earlier advised Unibail-Rodamco on its takeover of malls operator Westfield for an enterprise value of $32.7bn. The deal, which was completed earlier this year, holds the record.


Related stories:
HK billionaire’s latest Australian power play enlists two top firms
Australian M&A up 29% in 2017


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