Herbert Smith Freehills

Corporate/M&A Department

Current View:
Also ranked in:

This content is provided by Chambers. Learn more about our methodology

What the team is known for

Standout practice, renowned for its consistent involvement in many of the most prominent and challenging transactions. Noted for its immense depth of resources and long-standing relationships with a variety of top-flight multinationals, and especially valued for its ability to provide substantial, multi-jurisdictional support at both the regional and global levels. Assisted Santos in relation to the AUD14.5 billion proposal from US-based entity Harbour Energy to acquire 100% of the issued share capital of Santos by way of a scheme of arrangement.

Notable practitioners

Baden Furphy enjoys a very high level of market recognition as an excellent, standout performer in the M&A space, a client indicating that his greatest strength is his thorough dependability: "He's very understated, but when he says something, you know that he means it and that he has thought deeply about it and feel very confident that he will guide you the right way through the most complicated legal issues."

Sydney-based Damien Bailey is admitted in Hong Kong and has an active practice across Australia, China and the Middle East. He focuses on telecommunication matters, regularly acting for government and major IT and telecoms companies, and he advises Chinese clients on expansion into Australia, as well as other clients on expansion into China.

Ian Williams is identified by sources as "a North Asia specialist" and "a key adviser to Japanese in-house lawyers."  He often advises corporate Japanese clients on their investments in Australia and is particulary active in the mining and natural resources sector.

Philippa Stone is "an absolute rock star and the leader in the Australian corporate space" in the opinion of one interviewee, who goes on to say: "She's totally dedicated, always on point and will take a call at any time - I don't think she ever sleeps!" Active not only on public M&A deals, but also on major privatisations and corporate reconstructions, her high reputation in the market ensures that "her opinion carries a lot of weight."

A peer's observation that Rebecca Maslen-Stannage has "phenomenal force and drive" is both echoed and amplified by a client's characterisation of her as "a tireless, brilliant, very commercially savvy lead partner who delivers the whole firm to the client." Another interviewee thinks her "possibly the safest pair of hands I know in Australian M&A, with a very strong team behind her." A member of Australia's Takeovers Panel, she is particularly well known for her assured handling of deals in the media sector.

Robert Nicholson 's M&A practice is particularly strong where deals in the energy and resources or infrastructure sectors are concerned, and he also has a noted track record of involvement in privatisation deals, or other transactions involving public sector bodies. Clients especially appreciate his no-nonsense approach and exceptionally impressive blend of technical skill and commercial insight.

Rodd Levy is a veteran practitioner of over 30 years' standing in the takeover and schemes of arrangement space and a member of the Takeovers Panel. Valued for his pragmatism and mastery of the most complex issues, he is also an experienced handler of major transactions in the resources, retail and gaming spheres.

Tony Damian operates across the full range of public and private M&A transactions and, in addition to being a highly respected, hands-on practitioner in the space, is also a published authority on it. This, as one interviewee points out, makes him "very good at managing complexity, enabling him to play different roles, whether leading commercial negotiations or providing analysis and input as an adviser." He also draws praise as a "very pragmatic, level-headed lead partner whose ego doesn't get in the way of client goals."