Firm: Gilbert + Tobin (Qube Holdings)
Deal: Qube has acquired the remaining 50 per cent of the shares in Australian Amalgamated Terminals, as negotiated during the multibillion-dollar acquisition of Asciano earlier this year.
Key players: Corporate advisory partner Andrew Bullock and competition and regulation partner Simon Muys led the Gilbert + Tobin advisory team, assisted by partners Luke Woodward and Tim Gole. Senior corporate advisory lawyers Wendy Hsu and Alastair Corrigall also assisted, along with Morelle Bull on competition and regulation and Adrien Grady in technology, media and telecommunications.
Deal significance: Gilbert + Tobin provided corporate advice and structured the deal, as well as securing the ACCC clearance.
“It reflects, I think, Qube’s continuing growth and in terms of its terminal business, and is another very significant milestone for the company,” Mr Muys told Lawyers Weekly.
ACCC clearance was required for Qube to move from 50 per cent to full ownership of AAT.
Mr Muys said the deal is significant because it represents a turning point in the history of the tenuous relations between the ACCC and auto terminals. But from a competition perspective, it’s a significant example of the ACCC taking an active and acute interest in port assets, he said.
“I think in terms of infrastructure competition issues and regulation around infrastructure, it’s a very dynamic time, perhaps more dynamic it’s been in a long time,” Mr Muys said.
“I think it is important to note that several ACCC decisions over the last year or two have shown that getting these deals involving vertical integration cleared is becoming more challenging, and is likely to evolve and require more careful management through the process.”