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Melbourne, 10 June 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Blake Daws…

Melbourne, 10 June 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Blake Dawson Waldron has been acting for BHP Billiton on its successful bid for WMC Resources, the largest ever cash takeover offer for an Australian company.

BDW advised BHP Billiton in relation to its A$9.2 billion (A$7.85 per share) cash offer for the entire issued capital of WMC. This follows Xstrata’s earlier offers of $6.35 and $7.00, which were rejected by WMC.

Head of Corporate, David Williamson, led the BDW team. The BDW team working with David included partners John Sartori and Nick Terry, special counsel Bruce Dyer and lawyers Lawrence Kim and Maggie Chen on M&A issues. Partner Bill Reid and senior associates Rowena Tindal and Wolfgang Hellmann advised on competition law issues, partner Bruce Whittaker and senior associate Jock O’Shea on financing, partners Duncan Baxter, Richard Dukes, Teresa Dyson and Geoff Mann and special counsel Len Hertzman on tax, partner Graeme Harris on resources issues and partner Richard Bunting, senior associate Jane Harvey and lawyer, Danya Linden on people issues.
BDW’s team worked closely with BHP Billiton’s in-house legal team on the transaction, led by John Fast (Chief Legal Counsel & Head of External Affairs) and Anthony Austin (Senior Counsel), with Bruce Leishman (Counsel) advising on competition law issues and Barry van Jaarsveld (Legal Counsel, based in The Hague) on financing issues.
David commented: “This is the most significant takeover deal in Australia in recent times, not only because of its size, but because of its implications for BHP Billiton, consolidating its position as the world’s largest diversified resources company.

“As with all large deals, a range of complex and novel legal issues arose. Advising BHP Billiton on these issues meant drawing on the wealth of experience from a range of practice areas across the firm. Most stimulating of all was helping devise BHP Billiton’s effective takeover strategy, which saw it move to a commanding shareholding in WMC in a relatively short period.

“Working on transactions like this for clients like BHP Billiton is what being part of a major law firm is all about. It has been a real privilege to have been part of the team advising BHP Billiton on this acquisition.”

John Atkin, BDW Managing Partner, added “On behalf of the Firm, I congratulate BHP Billiton on the success of its offer for WMC – we are delighted to have been involved in this signature transaction.”

BHP Billiton’s English law advisers were Slaughter and May, and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz advised on US law issues.

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.