Chapman Tripp expects increased M&A activity will persist through the first half of 2017.
“We expect a strong finish to a year that has already produced an unusual number of major listed company transactions,” said Chapman Tripp senior associate Joshua Pringle.
“These include the NZME listing and its pending merger with Fairfax New Zealand, Z Energy’s acquisition of Chevron’s New Zealand downstream assets, the Nuplex takeover and the Sky/Vodafone merger.
“Regulatory approvals, in particular under the Commerce Act, have been a key feature of many of these deals.”
Chapman Tripp has been involved in the most significant M&A deals this year, identified last week by Mergermarket as the top New Zealand firm for transactions by deal value in Australasia.
Many of these deals have been cross-border, including: Vector’s $952.5 million sale of its gas transmission pipeline business to First State Investment funds; Academic Colleges Group’s sale of ACG to Pacific Equity Partners; Sumitomo Corporation’s acquisition of pine forest from Tasman Bay Forests Company for $370 million; and The Blackstone Group’s $200m investment into Partners Life.
Building on an already-strong year for strategic activity, Chapman Tripp expects a number of major strategic transactions to be announced before the year is up.
“Bapcor’s pending takeover offer for Hellaby is a recent example, and together with the partial takeover offer for Airwork by Chinese company RIFA, represents a mini-boom in New Zealand’s typically quiet takeovers market.”
Despite predictions of a slow-down in the Chinese economy, there is steady and significant Chinese direct investment into New Zealand, Pringle said.
“RIFA’s pending Airwork takeover offer and Joyvio’s acquisition of a 19.9% stake in Turners & Growers are but two recent examples of Chinese activity in New Zealand equity markets.”
Chapman Tripp also notes a pick-up in private M&A activity after a relatively light first half compared with prior years.
“And, as the transaction window in calendar 2016 begins to close, more sales processes are starting to enter the market.”
Pringle also featured in the National Business Review story Strong year for M&A activity so far.