Firm: Herbert Smith Freehills (Commonwealth Bank of Australia)
Deal: Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) advised Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) on its entry into further agreements with AIA Group Limited (AIA) in relation to planned divestments of its Australian life insurance business (CommInsure Life).
Value: $2,375 million
Key players: The HSF team was led by partner Tony Damian and assisted by senior associates Tamanna Islam, Amelia Morgan, Nick Conway, William Chew and Li-Lian Yeo, in addition to solicitor Tim Coorey. Partner Michael Vrisakis and special counsel Philip Hopley provided assistance from the firm’s financial services practice.
Deal significance: The parties have agreed to a revised transaction path, including a proposed entry into joint co-operation agreement supporting joint activity management across the AIA Australia and CommInsure Life.
This includes managing CommInsure Life businesses, reinsurance arrangements, the partnership milestone payments and a statutory asset transfer as an approach to the completion of the divestment of CommInsure Life.
The revised transaction path is subject to conditions including a number of Australian regulatory and life insurance entity board approvals.
Mr Damian said: “This is an important and innovative deal. It involves leading financial institutions and a significant Australian business. We are pleased for our team to have been involved in it.”
“The CBA M&A legal team again excelled at driving this important deal forward.”
The firm and CBA M&A legal team worked together on the original $3.8 billion deal to divest the Australian and New Zealand life insurance businesses of CBA, including the now completed state of the Sovereign business in New Zealand.
“M&A activity in the financial services sector is running at very high levels,” Mr Damian said. “We’ve seen a number of large deals in the market over the past couple of years. Many of the deals, including this one, have a cross-border element.”
HSF also advised CBA on the $4.2 billion sale of its global asset management arm, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which completed earlier this month and is advising CBA on the sale of financial advice business Count Financial.