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Tyre kicking pumps deals count

NOT SO QUIET: Mallesons' Stuart Fuller Mergers & acquisitions have steadily dropped off the Lawyers Weekly deals

NOT SO QUIET: Mallesons' Stuart Fuller

Mergers & acquisitions have steadily dropped off the Lawyers Weekly deals table in recent months, but that doesn't mean all is quiet on the M&A front.

Mallesons Stephen Jaques managing partner (practice) Stuart Fuller told Lawyers Weekly not to be fooled by the low announced deals count, assuring us that there still plenty of action going on behind the scenes.

"Big firms get a lot of a share of those big deals, but there's been a lot of private M&A work that gets done at the next level that gets very little visibility in the market," he said.

"There's been a lot of tyre kicking going on by lot of our good clients who have strong balance sheets looking to take advantage of opportunities in the market," he said.

If that has you imagining corporate hotshots kicking the air out of their competitors' Mercedes Benz on George Street, then you're actually close to the mark. Tyre kicking involves businesses looking to take advantage of opportunities created by companies under stress such as Allco, Babcock & Brown and ABC Learning.

"There's a lot of deals where clients are looking to realise cash through asset sales and we're fortunate to have a very strong institutional client base, that's still got the wherewithal to look at buying assets or other businesses," Fuller said.

These opportunistic deals are, by their very definition, spur of the moment, and the completion rate can be difficult for observers to track, he said.

"Deals come on and disappear very quickly these days, and then what you've seen is a lot of activity in the last couple of months in the equity capital market space, [namely] those very fast equity raisings that particularly the large banks and some of the large corporates did in the last quarter last year."

"We've also been very heavily involved in the government-guaranteed bond issuing market, and that hits both our M&A and our banking group and the trend has continued through January. M&A continues to be strong and is above budget nationally," Fuller said.

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