MCCULLOUGH ROBERTSON has made history, representing Queensland Gas Company in the largest takeover bid ever in Queensland after a $5.6 billion acquisition by BG Group. The deal was the first on-market bid in many years, with BG Group offering an unconditional all-cash offer of $5.75 per share.
Chairman of partners at McCullough Robertson Brett Heading said that co-ordinating the deal was also a first for the firm, in that it presented a situation where Qld Gas was an acquisition target while a bidder in its move to take over Roma Petroleum and Sunshine Gas.
“There were two current bids going where Qld Gas was the bidder and now it’s the target,” said Heading. “I’ve never been involved in a situation where a company is bidding on two parties and is also the target in another altogether.”
Heading also noted the significance of the deal being the largest on-market bid nationally in many years. “Most bids, particularly the large ones, have been done off-market and subject to a whole bunch of conditions,” he said. “For an on-market bid you have to be unconditional, with the approvals and finance in place — everything ready to go.
“There are very few companies who are prepared to be robust enough to do an on-market bid.”
Heading co-ordinated the deal with partner Derek Pocock out of the corporate advisory group, with a tax partner and a number of corporate lawyers.
With Mallesons representing BG Group, much of the deal was done out of the Mallesons office. The Qld Gas and BG Group team each flew from their respective bases to meet halfway in Dubai.
The friendly takeover comes a couple of years after McCullough Robertson defended Qld Gas against a hostile takeover from oil and gas company Santos. Heading cites it as a significant win for shareholders, with the friendly takeover extending the proposed Santos offer price of $1.26 per share to BG Group offering $5.75.
Heading said that despite the current economic climate, he believes this latest deal is an example of why their M&A practice will still run strong over the next 12 months. “This is an example of a big gorilla with a strong balance sheet taking an opportunity that has presented itself,” he said. “I expect there will be more of this, particularly if the Australian dollar stays down.”
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