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Big four fund FOXTEL’s $3 billion AUSTAR acquisition

Big four fund FOXTEL’s $3 billion AUSTAR acquisition

Allens, Freehills, Ashurst and Minter Ellison have acted on the financing of FOXTEL’s acquisition of regional subscription television provider, AUSTAR United Communications Limited, and the refinancing of its existing facilities.

Firms: Allens (FOXTEL), Freehills and Ashurst (AUSTAR), Minter Ellison (lenders)

Deal: Foxtel’s financing of its acquisition of regional subscription television provider, AUSTAR United Communications Limited, and the refinancing of its existing facilities

Area: Banking and finance

Value: More than $3 billion

Key players: Partner Alan Maxton (pictured) led the Allens banking and finance team which included senior associate Jo Folan and lawyer Suma Tekkatte. Competition partner Jacqueline Downes and senior associates Mark Heine and Charles Coorey also acted for Allens, which worked closely with FOXTEL chief general counsel Lynette Ireland and legal counsel Anna Ryan.

A core team from Minters’ finance group advised the syndicate of banks on revolving and bridge facilities to the Foxtel Group. Partner John Mosley led for Minters together with partners Daniel Marks, Ron Forster and Michael Barr-David. Mark Crean and Paul Hughes led for Freehills

Deal significance: The high-profile financing, worth more than $3 billion, and completed on May 23, will assist FOXTEL to become one of Australia’s largest media businesses, with more than 2500 employees and anticipated revenue of more than $2.8 billion. Maxton said that the sheer size and complexity of the financing made this transaction interesting. The funding, provided by the four major Australian banks, comprised take-out financing of a $900 million bridge facility and $1.2 billion syndicated facility, said Maxton. “An additional $900 million shareholder financing, which included subordination arrangements, was executed earlier this year,” he said. Financing for the transaction commenced more than 18 months ago. Mosley said the deal was one of the few big-ticket debt funded M&A transactions in the market for 2012. “It was refreshing to see that, for the right deal, it is still possible to muster strong support from the banks, particularly the domestic banks who are highly rated by world standards,” said Mosley.

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