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13 February 2005 – LAWFUEL – The law news network – Leading New Zeal…

13 February 2005 – LAWFUEL – The law news network – Leading New Zealand law firm Bell Gully’s ranking as one of Asia Pacific’s top merger and acquisitions advisers demonstrates a robust local marketplace for corporate legal services.

International researchers Thomson Financial last month named Bell Gully among the top 15 law firms working on M&A deals in the Asia Pacific region in 2004 – the only Kiwi firm to appear among the dominant global and Australian legal players in the region.

Overall, 2004 deal activity in the Asia Pacific region was up significantly on comparable figures for 2003.

“Despite a strong Kiwi dollar, New Zealand M&A activity has also surged by up to 40% over the last year, according to Thomson,” said Bell Gully’s corporate practice leader, Brynn Gilbertson.

“While deal values in the region are lower than European or US takeovers, our lawyers are working on transactions that are just as complex and challenging as those being done in New York or London.”

“We’re delighted at being named as one of the top legal advisors in the region, despite being based in one of the region’s smaller economies, particularly as some had been predicting the demise of the large New Zealand law firms and the corporate community that they serve,” said Mr Gilbertson.

Bell Gully also consolidated its reputation as New Zealand’s leading M&A legal adviser by topping Bloomberg’s 2004 league tables, also published today.

Mr Gilbertson believed that M&A activity in 2005 could cool slightly but wouldn’t slump as dramatically as it did in 2002.

“The New Zealand legal market remains robust,” said Mr Gilbertson. “While it will always be one of the smaller market places for corporate legal advice in areas such as M&A, competition among local legal firms will continue to be fierce just as it is in Sydney and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region.”

For more information, please contact Brynn Gilbertson on 021 614 540 or Sally Greig on 021 667 168.

Notes for editors

Bell Gully achieved the following rankings according to tables released today by Thomson Financial and Bloomberg.

Top New Zealand firm by deal value in all of Thomson Financial’s Australia/New Zealand tables of M&A Legal Advisers.

Top New Zealand firm by deal value in all of Thomson Financial’s Asia Pacific Excluding Japan tables of M&A Legal Advisers the only New Zealand firm to appear in the top 15 in the Asia Pacific league tables.

Top New Zealand firm by deal value and number of deals in Bloomberg’s 2004 M&A Legal Advisory League Tables.

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.