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Ian Williams is a highly experienced M&A and joint venture specialist.

Ian has advised over 150 Japanese companies and acted in more than 400 transactions. Clients include leading trading houses, banks, energy companies, consumer goods and manufacturing companies.  After 20 years as a partner, Ian became a Senior Adviser of the firm in 2020. He continues to work with clients on complex and strategically important transactions and disputes, and supports the ongoing growth of HSF’s market-leading Japanese client services team.

Ian has written extensively and is regularly quoted on Japanese investment in Australia, the post-merger experience of Japanese companies and corporate governance in Japan and Australia.

According to Chambers and Partners, Ian has been highly praised for his ability to maintain excellent client relationships and "his level of commerciality is extremely high".  He is ranked in Chambers Global  in both Japan and Australia as a leading Corporate/M&A and Mining lawyer.

Ian speaks business level Japanese. (日本語能力試験2級を保有しています).



Ian holds bachelor degrees in law and economics from the University of Sydney, and a post-graduate diploma in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford.

Ian is Vice-President of the Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee,   chair of ASX-listed Lindsay Australia and NXT Building Group and a non-executive director ASX-listed New Hope Corporation.

Ian's talents go beyond the legal profession. Ian is the only person ever to have represented both Australia (1984-1990) and Japan (1993) in rugby and also represented Australia in baseball.

In 2001, Ian co-founded the Australia Japan Roundtable Dinner which has since been held over 165 times in Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

In October 2016, Ian was awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister's Commendation (外務大臣表彰) for service to the Japan Australia relationship in business and sport.

Experience & expertise

Selected matters

  • Nikko Asset Management: merger of Australian business with Yarra Capital Management
  • ITOCHU: A$250 million sale of a 5% indirect interest in the Worsley Alumina Project to Press Metal Aluminium Holdings
  • Japan Coal Development: Acquisition of a 5% interest in the Mt Pleasant Coal Project
  • Challenger: A$401 million share placement to MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings
  • Toyota Tsusho: A$292 million acquisition of a 15% shareholding in Orocobre
  • McDonald Jones Homes (now NXT Building Group): Acquisition of a 40% shareholding by Asahi Kasei Homes
  • Kirin: A$2.9 billion acquisition of the shares in National Foods from San Miguel; A$6.3 billion takeover of Lion Nathan; A$7.3 billion bid with Lion Nathan to takeover Coca-Cola Amatil; and proposed merger with Suntory
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corporation: A$630 million acquisition of a 15% shareholding in AMP Capital and related Alliance arrangements
  • Mitsubishi Corporation: A$10.8 billion joint takeover with Rio Tinto of Coal & Allied; and restructuring of the Clermont Coal Joint Venture as a result of Rio Tinto selling its 50.1% interest to Glencore and Sumitomo Corporation for US$1.04 billion
  • Mitsui: A$605 million acquisition of 19.9% of the shares in Sims Metal Management from Hugo Neu Corporation; and acquisition of a 22.5% shareholding in New Forests, Australia’s largest forestry fund manager
  • Sumitomo Corporation and Sumitomo Metal Mining: Sale by Rio Tinto of its 80% interest in the Northparkes mine for US$820 million to China Molybdenum
  • Fuji Xerox: A$375 million acquisition of the business process outsourcing operations from Salmat
  • Japanese Consortium: Consortium of Mitsubishi, JGC, INCJ and Manila Water in A$225 million acquisition of the second largest water infrastructure business in Australia from United Utilities
  • POSCO: A$424 million acquisition of 10% of shares in Macarthur Coal and advising in relation to Peabody Energy and New Hope Corporation takeover offers
  • Korea Electric Power (KEPCO): A$402 million acquisition of the Bylong coal project from Anglo Coal
  • Korean Consortium: Consortium of 7 companies including Korea Resources, KEPCO and Hanwha in A$80 million acquisition of a 10% interest in the Moolarben coal joint venture from Yancoal
  • Gulliver International (now IDOM): A$120 million acquisition of a 67% shareholding in DVG, owner of 25 car dealerships