CLAYTON UTZ advised on the set up of IronBridge Fund II, Australia’s second largest private equity fund to date.
The fund will target buy-out investments in sectors with growth potential, which will generally range from $150 million to $750 million and consider co-investments with institutional investors. These include Macquarie Funds Management, UniSuper and Australia Super, as well as investors from Asia, North America, Europe and Japan.
Ironbridge Fund II has made its first joint $450 million acquisition with private equity firm Archer Capital of US conglomerate 3M’s Asia-Pacific and African pharmaceutical business.
Partner David Stammers advised on all aspects of the setting up of the new fund, as well as the acquisition of the 3M assets with Clayton Utz private equity head Philip Kapp.
Kapp said the law firm had a team that was well positioned to capitalise on the current level of activity in the sector.
“My joining Clayton Utz in 2004 along with David Stammers, Michael Riches and Jonathan Donald was a strategic move by Clayton Utz that, together with other key lateral hires, has resulted in a leading team of private equity specialists.”
Stammers said it was the year when private equity really “became a force to be reckoned with” in Australia.
“If you look at the percentage of M&A activity that private equity accounts for in Australia versus the UK and the US, we’re a long way behind, so we always had a lot of catching up to do,” he said.
It wasn’t clear that 2006 was going to be the year when private equity would “explode” onto the Australian market, he said, but there were a range of factors that meant it would at some stage.
“There’s been a lot of teaming up of the Australian funds and the offshore funds. The Australian private equity funds are raising up to a billion [dollars], and sometimes more, and the US and European [private equity] funds [have] very large funds looking for a home” he said. “So there’s a lot of money floating around and it’s been building for a couple of years.”
Kapp also led the Clayton Utz team that advised Ironbridge Capital Limited in its $500 million purchase, with a consortium of other investors, of Super A-Mart. Minter Ellison and Phillips Fox also advised the other buyers.