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Russell McVeagh Assists Clients With Significant Transactions In Challenging Environment

Russell McVeagh has continued to assist clients with a number of notable transactions throughout the lockdown, helping to deliver results in what has been a turbulent environment for many corporates.

National Practice Group Chair for Corporate Advisory David Hoare said, “we've been really proud of how our teams have pulled together during this period to provide a seamless service to our key clients on these large, complex deals – ensuring positive outcomes for both our clients and for the New Zealand economy”.

UDC sale

Russell McVeagh, led by Corporate partner Ian Beaumont and Banking and Finance partner Deemple Budhia, has been advising ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited (ANZ NZ) on the sale of its asset finance business, UDC Finance Limited (UDC), to Japan's Shinsei Bank for NZ$762 million.

ANZ NZ's sale of UDC forms part of its strategy to simplify its business and will release more than NZ$2 billion of funding, further strengthening ANZ NZ's balance sheet position. ANZ NZ CEO Antonia Watson said that the purchase of UDC by Shinsei Bank is a significant vote of confidence in the New Zealand economy.

WEL Network's sale of UFF Holdings shares

Led by Corporate partner Mei Fern Johnson, Russell McVeagh advised WEL Networks on the sale of its 85% stake in Ultrafast Fibre Holdings (UFF), as part of the sale of that entire significant infrastructure business to First State Investments for NZ$854 million.

The sale is part of WEL Networks' strategy to increase investment in its core electricity network and new energy options and remains subject to Overseas Investment Office approval and change of control clearance.

Stuff sale

Stuff CEO Sinead Boucher joined the team in Russell McVeagh's Wellington office recently to hand over NZ$1 – the purchase price that Sinead paid to buy Stuff, New Zealand's largest news site. Russell McVeagh partners David Raudkivi, Sarah Keene, Anna Crosbie, and Fred Ward worked for the vendor Nine Entertainment on this management buyout deal.

Before Sinead became CEO in August 2017, hopes for ownership at the time had been pinned on an ultimately failed merger proposal with rival NZME. Since then, Fairfax New Zealand's business rebranded as Stuff and has expanded its revenue streams, with assets including Neighbourly, and Stuff Fibre, which had 20,000 broadband customers when it was sold to Vocus in May, a deal which David Raudkivi also assisted Stuff to complete.

Major capital raisings

The firm has advised on a number of significant capital raisings during the lockdown period including:

  • Auckland Airport capital raising

Led by Ian Beaumont and supported by David Raudkivi, the firm advised Auckland Airport on its NZ$1.2 billion capital raise by way of an underwritten placement and share purchase plan. The $1 billion placement portion of the capital raise was the largest in New Zealand's history, with the offer receiving strong support from investors.

  • Kathmandu placement and ANREO

Acting as lead adviser to the underwriting syndicate of Craigs Investment Partners, Credit Suisse, Forsyth Barr and Jarden on the NZ$207 million raising. The Russell McVeagh team was led by David Raudkivi on what was the first non-renounceable entitlement offer of its kind under the new class waivers issued by NZX.

  • Augusta placement and ANREO

Ian Beaumont led the team acting as lead adviser to the underwriting syndicate of Jarden and Forsyth Barr on Augusta Capital's NZ$45 million placement and accelerated renounceable entitlement offer, with Centuria taking up a cornerstone stake in the raise.

  • Sky Network Television placement and ANREO

Led by Corporate partner Dan Jones, the firm acted as lead adviser to the underwriting syndicate of Goldman Sachs and Forsyth Barr on Sky's NZ$157 million placement and accelerated renounceable entitlement offer, which necessitated an NZX waiver to allow the accelerated renounceable entitlement offer to exceed the 2:1 cap permitted under the NZX class waiver for accelerated renounceable entitlement offers. Sky was also the first dual-listed NZX and ASX issuer to rely upon the new capital raising class waivers issued by ASX.

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