Freehills acted for GS Private Equity on the estimated $100 million management buyout (MBO) of the Brisbane-based sports and leisure chain Amart Allsports Pty Ltd.
Amart Allsport has 26 stores in Queensland, NSW and the NT. GS Private Equity bills itself as the market leader in MBOs in Australia.
Freehills said the MBO will allow GS Private Equity to help Amart’s management team to expand the company’s operations.
A team of between 15 and 20 of Freehills’ lawyers worked on the deal, led by partners Tony Damian (corporate) and Mark Rigotti (banking and finance).
GS Private Equity drew on its $192 million “Fund 2” portfolio for the investment, Damian said. The final payment was made last week.
Freehills’ team was directly involved in negotiations with the management team and the debt providers.
Damian said the deal was evidence of a high degree of growth in the private equity market in Australia, which followed strong growth in the UK.
Damian said companies here were becoming more amenable to the use of private equity: “The … market is becoming a lot more sophisticated.”
He noted it was important any legal team working on MBOs have a “coordinated approach to the various aspects of the transaction” as private equity houses have “to deal with a range of parties including sellers, the management team and the bankers to the deal”.
Peter McKnoulty from McCullough Robertson acted for the sellers and Gary Goldman from Minter Ellison acted for the management team.