Chapman Tripp eyes robust M&A throughout 2016

by Sol Dolor14 Oct 2016
Things are looking up in the M&A space in New Zealand, a top firm predicted.
According to Chapman Tripp, it expects M&A activity to remain robust through to the end of 2016 and the first half of next year.
“We expect a strong finish to a year that has already produced an unusual number of major listed company transactions,” said Chapman Tripp senior associate Joshua Pringle.
“These include the NZME listing and its pending merger with Fairfax New Zealand, Z Energy’s acquisition of Chevron’s New Zealand downstream assets, the Nuplex takeover and the Sky/Vodafone merger.
“Regulatory approvals, in particular under the Commerce Act, have been a key feature of many of these deals.”
Chapman Tripp predicts that the strong M&A market will extend through to the first six months of 2016.
Moreover, the law firm also expects there will still be a number of major strategic transactions to be announced before the year ends even though 2016 has already been filled with strategic activity in the space.
Bapcor’s pending takeover offer for Hellaby is a recent example, and together with the partial takeover offer for Airwork by Chinese company RIFA, represents a mini-boom in New Zealand’s typically quiet takeovers market,” said Pringle.
The senior associate also noted that Chinese activity in New Zealand has been healthy despite a gloomy initial outlook on the Chinese economy.
“RIFA’s pending Airwork takeover offer and Joyvio’s acquisition of a 19.9% stake in Turners & Growers are but two recent examples of Chinese activity in New Zealand equity markets,” he said.
Chapman Tripp also notes a pick-up in private M&A activity after a relatively light first half compared with prior years.
“And, as the transaction window in calendar 2016 begins to close, more sales processes are starting to enter the market.”
Chapman Tripp highlighted its involvement in the most significant M&A deals this year. Last week, it was identified by Mergermarket as the top New Zealand firm for transactions by deal value in Australasia. 
Many of these deals have been cross-border, including: Vector’s $952.5m sale of its gas transmission pipeline business to First State Investment funds; Academic Colleges Group’s sale of ACG to Pacific Equity Partners; Sumitomo Corporation’s acquisition of pine forest from Tasman Bay Forests Company for $370m; and The Blackstone Group’s $200m investment into Partners Life.