Leading legal league tables have ranked Bell Gully as New Zealand’s top legal adviser for mergers and acquisitions activity in 2016.
The firm also retained its position as market leader in respected international legal guide Chambers Asia Pacific, remaining at the top of the table by “Band 1” ranked individuals and practice areas.
Bloomberg’s Global M&A market review and Thomson Reuters M&A review both name Bell Gully as the highest-ranked New Zealand law firm based on 2016 deal activity with any Australian or New Zealand involvement. Meanwhile, Chambers Asia Pacific’s 2017 guide to the world’s best lawyers and law firms highlights the firm’s leadership across a broad range of practice areas, awarding the firm 10 top tier practice area rankings, the most individual lawyers in “Band 1” or higher, and the most ranked lawyers overall.
Bell Gully Chair Chris Gordon said: “Such a strong endorsement from our clients reflects our commitment, both as individual lawyers and collectively as a firm, to do all we can to achieve the very best results for them.”
That strong client support, coupled with the favourable economic environment which underpinned solid M&A activity in New Zealand in recent times, is also reflected in Bell Gully’s standing in the legal league table results. Bloomberg ranked Bell Gully 10th in Australasia based on the number of deals announced and 13th based on its role in deals with a combined value of US$4.9 billion. Thomson Reuters ranked Bell Gully 15th in Australasia based on announced deals of US$4.9 billion and 14th by involvement in completed deals totaling over US$5.2 billion.
“New Zealand’s continued growth and stability compared to the rest of the world ensures we remain an attractive investment destination,” said Chris.
Australasian deal activity was up 1.2 percent to US$129.2 billion in 2016, according to Thomson Reuters. That was set against lower global deal volumes, which fell 16 percent to US$3.7 trillion, but remained at robust levels overall – the third largest annual period for worldwide deal making since records began in 1980.
Both publishers also found reduced activity by deal value in the Asia Pacific region, although the region recorded the largest number of deals on record during the year. The most notable trend was a sharp jump in Chinese outbound investment, which Thomson Reuters said had doubled in 2016 compared to the previous year.
Locally, Bell Gully advised on a number of major transactions in 2016 and was named as Deal Team of the year at the New Zealand Law Awards late last year. The firm advised Nuplex Industries on its billion-dollar takeover by Allnex Belgium by way of scheme of arrangement, and on the acquisitions of Vector Gas for NZ$952.5 million and the Maui natural gas pipeline for NZ$335 million by funds managed by First State Investments. Bell Gully also advised on the acquisitions by the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation (as Manager and Administrator of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund) and Accident Compensation Corporation of 25 percent and 22 percent respectively of the holding company of Kiwibank from NZ Post, for a total value of NZ$494 million.
Bell Gully is involved in a number of deals that are underway, including advising Vodafone Group and Vodafone New Zealand on the NZ$3.4 billion merger of Vodafone New Zealand with NZX and ASX-listed Sky Network Television Limited and advising Fortune Global 500 company HNA Group on the NZ$660 million acquisition of UDC Finance from ANZ Bank New Zealand which was announced last week.