Blake Dawson Waldron acted for BHP Billiton on its successful bid for WMC Resources, the largest cash takeover offer ever for an Australian company at $9.2 billion ($7.85 a share) for the entire issued capital of WMC.
This followed Xstrata’s earlier offers of $6.35 and $7, which were rejected by WMC.
Head of corporate David Williamson led the BDW team, which worked closely with BHP’s in-house legal team on the transaction.
Williamson said the transaction was the most significant takeover deal in Australia in recent times, because of its size and its consolidation of BHP’s position as the world’s largest diversified resources company.
He said a range of complex and novel legal issues arose and required the experience from a range of practice areas across the firm.
“Most stimulating of all was helping devise BHP Billiton’s effective takeover strategy, which saw it move to a commanding shareholding in WMC in a relatively short period,” Williamson said.
The BDW team included partners John Sartori and Nick Terry, special counsel Bruce Dyer and lawyers Lawrence Kim and Maggie Chen on M&A issues; partner Bill Reid and senior associates Rowena Tindal and Wolfgang Hellmann on competition law issues; partner Bruce Whittaker and senior associate Jock O’Shea on financing; partners Duncan Baxter, Richard Dukes, Teresa Dyson and Geoff Mann and special counsel Len Hertzman on tax; partner Graeme Harris on resources issues, and partner Richard Bunting, senior associate Jane Harvey and lawyer, Danya Linden on “people” issues.
BHP Billiton’s English law advisers were Slaughter and May, and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz advised on US law issues.