KiwiRail mooted as 'deal of the year' candidate
The $700 million deal to buy back New Zealand's national rail network may have been a turkey for taxpayers - but law firms Simpson Grierson and Russell McVeagh are earning plaudits for their involvement.
The firms are the only New Zealanders in the M&A Deal of The Year category and will face off against some massive Australian deals, including the Westpac-St George merger and BP’s acquisition of the Queensland Gas Company, at the Macquarie ALB Australasian Law Awards 2009 when they are announced next month.
Investment bank Cameron Partners and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers also get a mention for their work on the KiwiRail deal.
Although most of the law award finalists hail from across the Tasman, there are still some other local firms up for other awards, with Chapman Tripp, Buddle Findlay and Russell McVeagh also finalists in the insolvency and restructuring deal of the year category, for their work on the Hanover Group debt restructure.
The buyback of the New Zealand rail network took place under a cloud of controversy, with Simpson Grierson acting for the Australian-owned Toll NZ on the sale.
Simpson Grierson’s lead partner on the Toll deal, Kevin Jaffe, is also nominated for the New Zealand Dealmaker of the Year award, with John Strowger from Chapman Tripp, Russell McVeagh’s Pat Bowler and Chris Gordan from Bell Gully making up the other finalists.
Mr Jaffe is also part of the Simpson Grierson team that is up for the NZ Deal Team of the Year award, a group that faces stiff competition for the award from teams from Bell Gully, Chapman Tripp, Kensington Swan and Russell McVeagh.
The news caps off a strong week for Simpson Grierson, after it recently revealed it had recorded its best March ever, and Mr Jaffe says 2008 was a strong year for the company, particularly in the area of M&A transaction.
The winners of the Macquarie ALB Australasian Law Awards will be unveiled in Sydney on May 21.