One of the largest IPOs for the last five years, and one of the three biggest for 2005, the Goodman Fielder listing was also characterised by its dual listing on the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges.
Freehills acted for Burns Philp, which bought Goodman Fielder in a takeover in 2003, on the float with New Zealand firm Bell Gully doing its work across the Tasman. Allens Arthur Robinson acted for the joint lead managers.
Freehills previously acted for Burns Philp on its takeover bid for the company.
Rebecca Maslen-Stannage, who led the Freehills team with Braddon Jolley, said it was an unusual situation for Burns Philp to be able to buy Goodman Fielder as a business that was “basically under-performing”, turn around its performance and position it for growth, to the extent that it could achieve a $2.1 billion float. “That’s a pretty good achievement,” she said.
Burns Philp retained a 20 per cent stake in Goodman Fielder, which was not included in that value. Burns Philp said the 20 per cent stake in Goodman Fielder offered better long-term value than the $3.55 billion bid by US investment firms Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs and Australian company Pacific Equity Partners.
Maslen-Stannage said the biggest challenge of the transaction was working around the different rules of the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges and making sure both were complied with. “It’s just ensuring at each stage that you are conscious of the requirements of both … because sometimes you expect their approach will be the same, but it is not necessarily.”
Goodman Fielder will use funds from the float to acquire Burns Philp’s baking, spreads and oils businesses and New Zealand Dairy Foods. The company is expected to be the largest listed food company in Australia and New Zealand, with a market capitalisation of between $2.45 billion and $2.65 billion.