NEWLY ANNOUNCED appointments to the Takeovers Panel mean that law firms Allens Arthur Robinson and Blake Dawson Waldron have strong representation in the peer review body.
Both Allens partner Guy Alexander and Blakes partner Byron Koster told Lawyers Weekly that being on the panel is an excellent way to have day-to-day involvement in takeovers and to keep learning about this specialist area.
Joining other members of their firms on the panel, the partners agreed it was also a great way to meet their peers in the mergers and acquisitions area. Koster joins Blakes’ Melbourne consultant Elizabeth Alexander, Graham Bradley, formerly of Blakes, and Marie McDonald. Guy Alexander joins Allens’ Andrew Knox and Kevin McCann.
The Takeovers Panel is the primary forum for resolving disputes about a takeover bid until the bid period has ended. It is a peer review body, with part-time members drawn mostly from Australia’s takeovers and business communities.
The Panel is useful career-wise, Koster said. There are 43 members so one is bound to meet a considerable section of those working in the M&A area, he said. Also, panel members must work on takeovers policy development, and will become part of committees that work on the development of that policy. This was attractive for one’s career, Koster said.
Guy Alexander said he was interested in the issues that are dealt with on the panel. Having provided a lot of input into it through the business law section of the Law Council of Australia, he realised it would be easier to do this from the inside.
When you sit in on cases, Koster said, you are going to see things differently to when you sit on the panel. “Being on the panel will give me a new perspective on takeovers, which is a fairly unique perspective. There are not many contexts where you can practise and be a decision maker as well.”
Alexander agreed that it will be interesting to be on the other side, “having gone through the process of acting for parties before the panel”. He was apprehensive, however, that he may be called upon during a big case. “I suppose it will come down to the goodwill of my clients when I am called.”
But the advantages of being in a body like the Takeovers Panel outweighed the disadvantages, he said, suggesting the experience would improve his skills in M&A as well.
Two primary things may have contributed to Alexander’s suitability for the panel position, he suggested. He had been before the panel on many occasions and had an active involvement with the panel’s executives on particular issues. Also, he had done a lot of work through Allens and the Law Council through his active development of policy.