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Herbert Smith Freehills’ reputation as the pre-eminent law firm for mergers and acquisitions across Asia Pacific has been reinforced, with the firm topping three of the region’s key M&A legal advisor league tables for 2018.

The firm ranked:

  • 1st by value in Asia Pacific (ex Japan) in both announced and completed deals (Thomson Reuters)
  • 1st  by value and deal count in Australia/New Zealand for both announced and completed deals (Thomson Reuters)
  • 1st by deal value and deal count in Australasia in announced deals (Mergermarket)
  • 1st by deal value in Asia Pacific (ex Japan) in announced deals (Bloomberg)
  • 1st by deal value and deal count in Australia/New Zealand in announced deals (Bloomberg)

“2018 was a very healthy year for Australian M&A with substantial activity across a variety of different sectors including financial services, healthcare, energy & resources and infrastructure,” commented Australian Corporate partner Matthew FitzGerald.

“We are expecting 2019 to offer more of the same with heightened M&A activity expected from private equity funds, infrastructure funds and superannuation funds executing direct investments despite some international economic volatility.”

"2018 was a strong year for M&A in Asia," said Asia Head of Corporate Lewis McDonald. "Despite the US/China trade war tensions and market volatility experienced in the second half of the year, activity levels were high.  It was a record year for Japan outbound, and we also saw the return of mega deals to the market."

"Asian companies and buyers are experienced at navigating volatile marketplaces so, despite ongoing uncertainty, we expect buyers and sellers to continue to be highly active in 2019," said Lewis.

"Liquidity remains high among Asian corporates and private equity funds and we expect that they will compete hard for quality assets and high returns across global sectors and markets."

Herbert Smith Freehills advised clients on a host of complex and strategic M&A transactions in 2018, including:

  • TPG Telecom on its A$15 billion merger of equals transaction with Vodafone Australia
  • Amcor on its US$6.8 billion acquisition of US packaging company Bemis
  • Santos on its A$2.15 billion acquisition of Western Australia's Quadrant Energy
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia on its A$1.63 billion acquisition of PEXA, Australia’s online property exchange network
  • China's SF Express' on its US$792 million acquisition of Deutsche Post DHL's China supply chain and logistics business and an ongoing 10-year strategic partnership
  • ENN on its 20-year liquefaction tolling agreement with Texas-based Freeport LNG, the first investment by a private Chinese company in the US LNG market
  • Rio Tinto on the US$3.5 billion sale of its stake in Grasberg mine to Indonesia’s state-owned mining company
  • Japan's Marubeni Corporation on its acquisition of Chile's second-largest natural gas distribution company
  • Singtel, Asia’s leading communications group, on its role in a US$1.25 billion investment in Airtel Africa Limited
  • China's Shenhua Group on its US$271 billion merger with China Guodian Group to create the world’s largest power and coal company.

Key contacts

Matthew FitzGerald photo

Matthew FitzGerald

Managing Partner, Brisbane Office, Brisbane

Matthew FitzGerald
Lewis McDonald photo

Lewis McDonald

Global Co-Head of Energy, London

Lewis McDonald

Media contact

For further information on this article please contact

Sally Greig

Sally Greig, Head of Communications, Asia

Hong Kong