Lead advisers Buddle Findlay, headed by Andrew Simmonds, and specialist M&A advisers Quigg Partners, led by John Horner, advised the Trade Me Board on its acquisition by Fairfax Holdings for $700 million. Russell McVeagh, led by Pip Greenwood, acted for Fairfax, and PricewaterhouseCoopers advised on finance and tax.
Horner said the transaction was initiated and signed in less than a month, “so it was pretty intense”. The transaction also featured a 12 to 24 month earn-out, which will see the Trade Me Board paid another $50 million if it hits certain targets.
“That takes up the lawyers’ time, because you never know what’s going to happen in 24 months.”
Horner said the transaction was unique in the sense that Quigg Partners and Buddle Findlay had worked so closely together. “It worked really well for the client. The Board had two sets of lawyers working on it and we did come at it from different directions.
“We probably both learnt things from each other that you wouldn’t necessarily learn from opposite sides of the table.”
He said the deal was at the higher value end of those that occur in New Zealand, and was different in that it involved a Wellington-based company and mostly Wellington-based shareholders, whereas most of the country’s large M&A activity comes out of Auckland.