Top trio steer $6bn powerhouse deal

International firms help the commonwealth buy out two states’ stakes in a major energy company

Top trio steer $6bn powerhouse deal

A trio of global firms are helping in the buyout of Snowy Hydro Limited for more than $6bn.

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is advising the Department of Finance as the commonwealth has agreed to buy the stakes of the states of New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria in the power company.

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is advising NSW, which is selling its 58% stake in Snowy Hydro for $4.15bn. Ashurst is acting for Victoria, which is unloading its 29% interest for $2.07bn.

The commonwealth already owns 13% of the company. The transaction, expected to close by the end of June subject to approvals and appropriations, values the company at $7.8bn.

The deal includes undertakings from the government parties in relation to the future operation of the scheme, including continued public ownership and various regulatory assurances, KWM said. HSF and Ashurst say that the states have agreed to use the proceeds on productive infrastructure projects.

“This will create an investment bonanza in regional NSW with every cent of the proceeds going to rural and regional NSW,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. “Not only have we unlocked billions for infrastructure in the regions, but it paves the way for the nation-building Snowy 2.0 project, a federal government investment of more than $3bn that will create 5,000 direct jobs in the Snowy Region.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that the historic deal is “good for Victorian households, and good for our economy, as we continue to build the infrastructure and create the jobs our state needs for the future.”

KWM’s team is led by partners Tim Bednall and Stephen Jaggers, who are supported by partners Debra Townsend, Dominic Bortoluzzi, Louis Chiam, and Wayne Leach. Special counsels Stephen Mason, Jason Barnes, and Stuart Courtney, as well as senior associates Elliott Dunn, Anna MacFarlane, and Jim Tapp, are also helping in the deal.

The HSF team is overseen by partner David Ryan, who is assisted by partner Peter Dunne, senior associate Bailee Walker, and lawyer Kai Ito.

Partners Shane Kyriakou and Kylie Lane are leading the Ashurst team, which is also bolstered by partners Nick Terry and Jeff Lynn.

Lazard is the financial adviser of the federal government. NSW is also advised by UBS, and its treasury team is being run by Philip Gardner and Charlotte Alexander. Victoria is also advised by Deutsche Bank.


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