AWB’s purchase of the diversified rural services business Landmark, from Wesfarmers, is highly significant for AWB and for the Australian agricultural sector.
The AUD$825M acquisition positions AWB as the leading agribusiness in Australia and strengthens the competitive position of Australia’s agricultural produce in world markets.
Not only was the transaction negotiated within a tight two month timeframe, but it signed and completed last Friday.
Blake Dawson Waldron acted for AWB on the acquisition, providing a co-ordinated approach to a wide range of legal issues. The large BDW team worked closely together under the direction of lead partner, David Williamson, and AWB General Counsel, Jim Cooper. BDW’s role included:
• due diligence investigations, sale and purchase agreement negotiations, completion and integration planning (including HR issues, superannuation, property, branding and IT);
• negotiation of key supply agreements and other ancillary documentation, including for arrangements to enable Landmark’s deposit note activities to continue; and
• AWB’s $250m equity raising, and its debt finance.
Other key members of the Blake Dawson Waldron team included Gail Owen – acquisition; John Sartori – equity raising; Bruce Whittaker – debt arrangements; and Richard Bunting – employment law issues.
David Williamson said: “Completing this transaction within such a tight timetable involved a committed team effort by the AWB team, our own troops (across a series of practice groups and offices) and Macquarie Bank, as well as other advisers. Effective co-ordination of the different work streams was instrumental in ensuring that simultaneous signing and completion was achieved, on-time.”
Investment banking adviser to AWB was Macquarie Bank. Wesfarmers was represented by Freehills and Gresham.