For the second year in a row, the firm was named New Zealand Firm of the Year, while our corporate team were acknowledged for their contributions on two major regional transactions. This included winning Debt and Equity Deal of the Year for our work on Xero Investments' convertible notes and buy back, and the M&A Deal of the Year for our work on Resolution Life's acquisition of AMP Life.
New Zealand Firm of the Year: Chair Andrew Petersen said Bell Gully was proud to receive the New Zealand Firm of the Year award, particularly noting the work of our entire team during a challenging 2020.
“2020 was an unprecedented year for many of our clients and our people, which meant we needed to be even more agile in helping our clients and looking after our team," he said.
“It was fantastic to see how the firm responded to the situation and we are looking forward to a better 2021."
Debt and Equity Deal of the Year: Bell Gully advised Xero on the New Zealand elements of its US$700m Convertible Note issue, with such notes listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and used to buy back Xero's existing US$300m guaranteed convertible notes due in 2023 and to fund potential acquisitions. The Bell Gully team was led by partners David Craig and Dean Oppenhuis, and supported by senior solicitor Chris Thomas and solicitor Bronwyn Neal.
Lead partners David Craig and Dean Oppenhuis: “We are honoured to have been recognised for our part in this significant regional transaction. It was great to be able to advise Xero on further funding for its global expansion plans."
M&A Deal of the Year: Bell Gully advised Resolution Life on the New Zealand aspects of its acquisition of AMP's wealth protection and mature businesses (AMP Life) for approximately AU$3 billion. AMP Life is New Zealand's second largest life insurer. This multi-year transaction included several complex pieces, which Bell Gully advised Resolution Life on throughout. The Bell Gully team was led by partner Glenn Joblin, and supported by partners Chris Goddard and Graham Murray.
“Over a long period, the Bell Gully team worked closely with the Resolution team to develop a unique trust structure and operating model to meet the Reserve Bank's requirements and ensure the interests of all AMP Life policyholders are protected," lead partner Glenn Joblin said.
“This is a further example of Bell Gully acting on the largest and most complex insurance sector M&A transactions in the New Zealand market, following acting for AIA on the acquisition of the Sovereign life insurance business and for Cigna on the acquisition of ANZ's New Zealand life insurance business."
These awards reaffirm Bell Gully's position as New Zealand's leading law firm. This follows on from the firm winning seven awards at the 2020 New Zealand Law Awards. The corporate team was recognised as New Zealand Deal Team of the Year, while the Vodafone New Zealand acquisition won M&A Deal of the Year, Debt Market Deal of the Year and overall New Zealand Deal of the Year. Bell Gully's Corporate team also won Equity Market Deal of the Year for the Napier Port IPO.