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Freehills, Mallesons collaborate on Fairfax deal

Freehills, Mallesons collaborate on Fairfax deal

The Fairfax deal was fast and required some late nights, Mallesons M&A partner Shannon Finch told The New Lawyer. Plus... other breaking news.

THE Fairfax deal was fast and required some late nights, Mallesons M&A partner Shannon Finch told The New Lawyer

The $500 million capital raising was turned around fairly quickly, Finch said. Initially Fairfax had not intended to raise capital, but “it was a result of very supportive messages from their institution investor base that caused them to reassess and respond to that”.

Mallesons advised the underwriters and lead managers, ABN AMRO Equity Capital Markets and UBS AG on the Fairfax deal. Freehills, meanwhile, represented Fairfax. Jason Watts, also from Mallesons’ M&A practice, worked on the deal with Finch. 

More than 58 million Fairfax Media shares were traded on 2 March this year. 

The deal frame was very short, said Finch, and was done within two days. “So we were here fairly late one evening,” she said. 

“It did involve some late nights. We responded by putting more people on it than we normally would so we could divide and conquer. We had two partners on it, me and [Watts], and two fairly senior lawyers. We actually had one person, when we got the main documents back, who came on the team to help run around the following morning and tie up lose ends and make sure people had copies of documents, so the people working the late nights could recuperate,” the Mallesons partner said. 

“I was happy with the way that worked,” said Finch, “there was a very collaborative relationship between Mallesons and Freehills”. 

Any Fairfax deal would attract media attention, but in this case the press picked up fairly quickly there was a change of tack from the statements made at the results announcement, said Shannon. 

“So that was the immediate press reaction. But the best answer to that was that investors really flooded into the issue. It went very smoothly. In fact you’ve got a more active response from investors than we’d seen on other deals of this kind that have been launched in recent times. So it really was a very successful offer,” she said. 

“It was one of the those happy synergies where everybody was happy for them to be doing this and were prepared to show their support. So I don’t think the press comment actually had much impact. 

“Though that’s not always the case. Usually the press can be enormously influential on the outcome of a deal. Investor sentiment is such a volatile thing in these times and I think the Australian press plays a huge role in shaping how investors feel,” Finch said. 

LATEST NEWS… Shannon Finch can put this deal behind her, heading off on maternity leave this week. She says it will be hard to be leaving the office and turning away from practice for a short time. “It’s been a very exciting time in the market,” she told The New Lawyer. “But it is a very nice reason to be taking a bit of a break.”

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