Bell Gully, Russell McVeagh help seal AU$1.27bn deal

An insurance giant acquires CommBank's Sovereign business

Bell Gully, Russell McVeagh help seal AU$1.27bn deal

Two leading New Zealand firms have confirmed their role in the sale of Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA) Sovereign business to AIA Group.

AIA was advised by Bell Gully, while CBA was advised by Russell McVeagh, in the AU$1.2bn deal. AIA acquired Sovereign, the largest life and health insurance business in New Zealand, from its parent CBA. The transaction closed on 2 July.

The deal includes a 20-year partnership between Sovereign and AIA for the provision of life and health insurance products to ASB customers in New Zealand.

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The Bell Gully team was led by partners Glenn Joblin and Chris Goddard, who were supported by special counsel Sarah McQueen and senior associate Jenny Hills.

Senior corporate partner Pip Greenwood led the Russell McVeagh team, with support from senior solicitors Frida Klippel and Aria Molteni-Luporini, and solicitors Lucy Clifford and Wendy Smith.

Finance partner Tom Hunt, tax partner Fred Ward, competition partner Troy Pilkington, and employment partner Kylie Dunn also provided expert advice.

Russell McVeagh worked alongside other top firms for the deal. Herbert Smith Freehills was CBA’s legal counsel in Australia.

AIA’s lead legal counsel was New York-headquartered firm Debevoise & Plimpton. AIA tapped Ashurst as its Australian legal counsel.

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