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Tony Damian

Partner

Sydney
Australia

Tony is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading M&A lawyers.

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Experience

Tony has a track record of helping clients achieve their goals in the most complex and significant transactions. For over 20 years, Tony has assisted clients by providing strategic and practical advice. The Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide has rated Tony for a number of years as one of only a small handful of Band 1 M&A lawyers in Australia, with one client describing him in the 2016 edition as being "the best M&A lawyer in Australia in my experience".

Tony is a global co-chair of the firm’s Banks sector group.

Tony won Dealmaker of the Year at the inaugural 2010 Lawyers Weekly Awards and again at the 2014 Awards. He has been nominated a further seven times for Dealmaker of the Year by Lawyers Weekly and Australasian Legal Business.

Tony has been recognised in a number of legal directories. He was voted Best M&A Lawyer (Sydney) by his peers in the 2017 edition of Best Lawyers.

Tony is co-author of Schemes, Takeovers and Himalayan Peaks, a leading book on public company mergers that founded the Ross Parsons Centre monograph series at the University of Sydney. Now in its third edition, the book has been described by the Chief Justice of New South Wales as the “pre-eminent text” in the area. Tony is also the co-editor of Before You Tie the Knot, a major book on joint venture law and also of Towns Under Siege, a major book on contemporary issues in takeovers. He is also General Editor of the Australian Journal of Corporate Law.

Tony’s experience includes advising:

  • Autosports Group on its A$480 million initial public offering (2016)
  • Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec on its 44% stake in insurance distributor Greenstone (2016)
  • Metcash on its A$165 million acquisition of Home Timber & Hardware from Woolworths (2016)
  • Ausenco on its A$160 million (EV) acquisition by RCF by way of scheme (2016)
  • Broadspectrum’s response to the A$1.3 billion (EV) unsolicited takeover bid by Ferrovial (2015-16)
  • Investa Office Fund on its proposed A$2.5 billion acquisition by DEXUS (2015-16)
  • PanAust on its takeover by Guangdong Rising valuing the company at A$1.2 billion (2015)
  • Barrick Gold on the A$1 billion sale processes for the Cowal and Porgera mines (2015)
  • Todd Corporation in relation to its joint takeover bid for Rutila Resources (2015)
  • Evolution Mining on its proposed acquisition of La Mancha’s Australian assets (2015)
  • Goodman Fielder on the A$1.9 billion (EV) scheme with Wilmar and First Pacific (2014-15)
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia on its exit from its property funds management and property asset management platform. The property platform provided management services to three listed trusts with over A$20 billion in property assets under management. The exit involved the internalisation of CFS Retail Property Trust Group and sale of the associated wholesale funds and third party property mandate business for A$475 million, along with two competing take private bids for Commonwealth Property Office Fund (CPA) which resulted in a consortium led by DEXUS securing 100% of CPA for a deal value of A$3 billion as well as the related facilitation arrangements for the transition of management rights for CPA to DEXUS and the internalisation of Kiwi Income Property Trust for $70 million (2013 – 2014)
  • PanAust in its response to the A$1.5 billion takeover proposal from Guangdong Rising (2014)
  • Roc Oil on its proposed A$900 million merger with Horizon Oil and subsequent takeover by Fosun (2014). This deal was nominated as M&A Deal of the Year at the 2015 Australasian Lawyer awards
  • Peabody Energy in relation to its successful A$5 billion hostile joint takeover bid for Macarthur Coal, which is the largest hostile joint bid and the largest coal takeover in Australian history (2011). The deal has been honoured by winning the Corporate M&A Deal of the Year ($1 billion and above), and Material & Resources Deal of the Year, at the 2012 M&A Atlas Awards held at the New York Stock Exchange
  • Eldorado Gold Coöperatief UA on its recommended takeover of Glory Resources (2013-2014)
  • Commonwealth Bank in relation to its move to 80% ownership of Aussie Home Loans (2013)
  • Bank of Queensland on its acquisition of Virgin Money with simultaneous 40 year trade mark licencing (2013)
  • The Weir Group in relation to its Australian A$357 million proposed acquisition of Ludowici (2012)
  • RBS on the sale of its infrastructure business (2012)
  • Eldorado Gold’s C$2.5 billion acquisition of European Goldfields Ltd (2012)
  • Commonwealth Bank's A$373 million acquisition of Count Financial by way of scheme (2011)
  • The A$1.3 billion sales by Santos to Total and KOGAS of stakes in the A$16 billion GLNG Project, including A$120 billion offtake commitments (2010-2011)
  • Centennial Coal in relation on its A$2.5 billion acquisition by Banpu Public Company Limited (2010). This deal was nominated as Energy & Resources Deal of the Year at the 2011 ALB Law Awards
  • The MAC Services Group’s A$650 million acquisition by Oil States International, Inc by way of scheme (2010)
  • Eldorado Gold’s A$3.5 billion approach to Andean Resources (2010)
  • Caliburn Partnership on its acquisition by Greenhill & Co., Inc (2010)
  • Metcash’s acquisition of a controlling stake in the Mitre 10 Group by way of scheme of arrangement (2010)
  • Eldorado Gold Corporation on its A$2.4 billion acquisition of Sino Gold Mining Limited (2009). This deal won Mining Journal’s 2009 Deal of the Year award
  • Gloucester Coal Limited on its A$1.2 billion proposed merger with Whitehaven Coal Limited, and Noble Group’s concurrent bid for Gloucester (2009).  This deal was awarded M&A Deal of the Year (2009) by FinanceAsia
  • Commonwealth Bank on its A$2.1 billion acquisition of BankWest. This deal was Asia Money M&A Deal of the Year, CFO M&A Deal of the Year and was nominated as ALB M&A Deal of the Year (2008)
  • Santos on its US$2.6 billion sale of coal seam methane assets to PETRONAS in relation to the GLNG project. This deal was nominated as ALB Energy & Resources Deal of the Year (2008)
  • BUPA’s A$2.4 billion demutualisation and acquisition of MBF. This deal was awarded INSTO Innovative Deal of the Year (2008)
  • QBE’s A$8.7 billion scheme proposal to IAG (2008)
  • Commonwealth Bank’s A$380 million acquisition of listed broker IWL by way of scheme (2007)
  • Centennial Coal’s A$1.1billion sale of Anvil Hill and its stake in Austral Coal to Xstrata (2007)
  • The Gloucester Coal/Xstrata scheme proposal and CAMEC’s takeover for OmegaCorp (2007)
  • Tullow Oil plc’s $1.47 billion acquisition by way of scheme for Hardman Resources (with US$1billion debt facility). This deal was nominated as Energy & Resources deal of the year at the 2007 ALB Law Awards (2007)
  • Peabody Energy in its successful A$2 billion contest for control of Excel Coal by way of scheme. This deal was nominated as Energy & Resources deal of the year at the 2007 ALB Law Awards (2006)
  • Flight Centre’s A$1.6 billion public to private proposal and subsequent leveraged joint venture with PEP, acting for the Founders (2006)
  • Commonwealth Bank on the sale of its interests in the 2100MW Loy Yang A power station and mine (2005)
  • Shuffle Master, Inc. on its A$150 million takeover bid for Stargames (2005)
  • Deutsche Bank entities on Chapter 6 aspects of the A$3.3 billion stapling of its property trusts (2004)
  • Cashcard on its A$259 million acquisition by First Data by way of scheme, following a dual track IPO / trade sale process (2004)
  • Investa Property Group in its successful unsolicited A$1.5 billion takeover bid for Principal Office Fund (2003)
  • AurionGold Limited’s response to Placer Dome’s unsolicited A$2 billion takeover bid (2002)
  • Commonwealth Bank entities in their successful A$1.6 billion contest with rival bidder Mirvac for Colonial First State Property (2002)
  • Billiton on its A$57 billion merger with BHP (2001)
  • Goldfields Limited in its A$1.2 billion merger with Delta Gold (2001)
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia in its A$10.1 billion acquisition of Colonial Limited by way of schemes of arrangement (2000)
  • ABN AMRO Bank NV on the restructure of its Australian operations and sale of a 20% interest to management
  • Commonwealth Bank in various M&A deals including its acquisition of its stake in Aussie Home Loans, of Avanteos, of Symetry, of its stake in 452 Capital and the divestment of its custody business
  • CSR Limited in its US$275 million disposal of certain of its Australian aluminium interests to Alcan
  • Various companies on the Australian aspects of foreign takeovers, including Barrick Gold’s US$2.3 billion acquisition of Homestake and QBE Insurance’s £375 million bid for Limit Plc
  • Various board spill requisitions, including those involving Troy Resources, GoldLink and BigAir

 

Background

Tony holds a Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Master of Laws from the University of Sydney.

He was formerly a tutor in law at St Andrew’s College at the University of Sydney, and continues to lecture in takeovers at the university. He joined Freehills in 1996 and became a partner on 1 January 2003.