Biography

    Neil heads the Gilbert + Tobin Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) team in Melbourne, is co-head of the Corporate Advisory group of the firm and is a member of Gilbert + Tobin’s board of partners.

    Neil is also a member of the Australian Government's Takeovers Panel (the peer review body that regulates public company control transactions and is the primary forum for resolving takeover disputes). 

    Neil specialises in listed company takeovers, schemes of arrangement, cross border M&A, mining/resources, capital markets and corporate governance matters having over 25 years of experience in these fields.

    Best Lawyers named him Melbourne’s Corporate Lawyer of the Year and M&A Lawyer of the Year in 6 of the last 8 years.

    He is recognised as a leading Australian M&A lawyer in all key international publications including Best Lawyers, Chambers, Legal 500 and International Who’s Who of M&A Lawyers.

    Neil has spent time working at pre-eminent London and New York law firms.

    Neil has previously authored the leading text on Australian takeovers, Takeovers Law and Strategy and is the principal author of the State of the M&A Nation and G+T’s annual Takeovers and Schemes Review.

    Neil has bachelor degree's in Law (with First Class Honours) and Commerce (Finance major) from the University of Melbourne. He also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment. He lectures in takeovers and securities laws at the University of Melbourne and is a member of the Corporations Committee of the Law Council of Australia.

    Neil’s recent experience includes advising:

    • Aquis Entertainment’s proposed sale of Canberra Casino to Oscars.
    • UniSuper, the major shareholder in Sydney Airport, on its participation in the $24 billion takeover of Sydney Airport by Sydney Aviation Alliance by scheme of arrangement.
    • Acquirer of a significant shareholding in Intellihub for over $1 billion.
    • Blackstone’s $9 billion takeover of Crown Resorts – advising various shareholders on the transaction.
    • Syrah Resources’ $250 million capital raising in connection with natural AAM graphite plant expansion and Tesla contract.
    • Dexus Industria REIT’s $400 million equity capital raising and acquisitions of Jandakot Airport and various industrial properties.
    • PowAR consortium (QIC, Future Fund, AGL) on its $3 billion acquisition of Tilt Renewables by scheme of arrangement.
    • Cleanaway’s proposed acquisition of Suez’s Australian business for $2.5 billion culminating in the acquisition of strategic Sydney assets.
    • APN Property Group’s $320 million acquisition by Dexus by scheme of arrangement.
    • Catcha Group on its joint US$200 million acquisition with Carsome of iCar by scheme of arrangement to create the largest digital automotive marketplace in SE Asia.
    • Nusantara’s $80 million acquisition by Indika by scheme of arrangement.
    • Kin Group on-market takeover bid for McPhersons.
    • Syrah Resources innovative $210 million capital raisings in 2019 and 2020 involving convertible note issues to AustralianSuper.
    • Anheuser-Busch InBev’s $16 billion sale of Carlton & United Breweries to Asahi Group, the largest M&A transaction in Australia in 2019-20.
    • Federation Mining’s $100 million convertible note capital raising and investment by AustralianSuper.
    • Tilt Renewables $1.1 billion sale of the 270 MW Snowtown 2 wind farm to Palisade Investment Partners and First State Super.
    • Luxury Escapes proposed sale.
    • Balter Brewing on its acquisition by Carlton & United Breweries. 
    • DuluxGroup in relation to Nippon Paint’s $4.2 billion acquisition of it by scheme of arrangement, the largest trade/strategic takeover in Australia in 2019.
    • BGH consortium (including BGH Capital, AustralianSuper and Rod Jones) on its $2.1 billion acquisition of Navitas by scheme of arrangement, the largest take private by an Australian PE fund.
    • AB InBev on the Hong Kong IPO of its Asia Pacific subsidiary, Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Limited.
    • Damstra Technology on its IPO.
    • Joint lead managers to Whispr in relation to its IPO.
    • Potential bidder for acquisition of Lion Nathan’s dairy and drinks business.
    • Kin Group on its unsolicited on market takeover offer for The Reject Shop.
    • Jacobs Engineering on its $4.6 billion sale of its energy, chemicals and resources group to Worley Parsons.
    • TPG Capital’s $910 million acquisition of Greencross.
    • Syrah Resources’ $103 million placement and SPP.
    • Harbour Energy/EIG Partners consortium $14.4 billion takeover proposal for Santos.
    • BGH Capital led consortium $4 billion+ takeover proposal for Healthscope.
    • Cleanaway Waste Management on its $671 million acquisition of Tox Free Solutions by scheme of arrangement and related equity and debt raisings.
    • Carlton & United Breweries (AB Inbev) acquisition of 4 Pines and Pirate Life.
    • Syrah Resources’ $110 million placement and entitlement offer.
    • TPG acquisition of Novotech.
    • Ansell’s $800 million sale of its Sexual Wellness business to Humanwell Healthcare/Citic.
    • TPG consortium’s $2.7 billion proposal to acquire Fairfax Media.
    • Spotless on its defence of the $1.2 billion hostile takeover bid by Downer EDI Limited.
    • APN Property Group on its IPO of its Retail Property Fund (service stations).
    • Wesfarmers in respect of its strategic review of Officeworks.
    • Potential strategic buyer’s consideration of the Arrium assets.
    • Juwai.com’s pre-IPO capital raising and proposed IPO.
    • Industria REIT’s $85 million accelerated entitlement offer and placement.
    • Kin’s (Raphael Geminder) acquisition of Green’s Foods.
    • APN Property Group’s sale of Generation Healthcare Management (and a strategic interest in Generation Healthcare REIT) to NorthWest.
    • Syrah Resources $200 million placement.
    • US PE investor’s acquisition of sandalwood plantation.
    • AB InBev on Australian aspects of its US$117 billion takeover of SAB Miller (CUB/Fosters), largest takeover in the world in 2016.
    • Signature Capital acquisition by RF Capital by scheme of arrangement.
    • AusNet Services $120 million acquisition of Mortlake Terminal Station and ongoing long term service arrangements.
    • Aquis proposed redevelopment of Canberra Casino and related regulatory reforms.
    • iSelect on its takeover discussions.
    • Asahi’s acquisition of Mountain Goat.
    • Bidder for Transgrid in NSW poles & wires privatisation, ultimately sold for $10.3 billion.
    • Bidder for Swisse, ultimately sold for $1.6 billion.
    • Syrah Resources successful $212 million entitlement offer.
    • Vail Resorts on its acquisition of Perisher.
    • Victorian State on the termination settlement of the East-West Link project.
    • Aquis Entertainment Group on its reverse takeover of Discovery.
    • TPG, Blackstone and OTPP in respect of its proposal to acquire GE Consumer Finance.
    • QMS and Mitula IPOs, advising the underwriters.
    • Orica’s $750 million sale of its Chemicals business (since renamed Ixom) to Blackstone.
    • Wesfarmers on its acquisition of Pacific Brands Workwear division.
    • TPG, PAG Asia and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board on its successful acquisition of DTZ property services business from UGL Limited for a purchase price of $1.215 billion (2014) and various follow on acquisitions.
    • Stanhill Capital Partners on its successful takeover of Robust Resources.
    • Wesfarmers on its acquisition of Pacific Brands Workwear division.
    • Iron Ore Holdings on its $256 million takeover by BC Iron.
    • Aquis on its acquisition of Canberra Casino.
    • Aquis on its proposed $275 million takeover of the Reef Casino Trust and aspects of its $8.2 billion development of an integrated resort/casino/hotel complex in Cairns.
    • IFM sale of Endeavour Learning Group to Vocation.
    • Aurora Oil & Gas on its successful $2.6 billion takeover by Baytex Energy via scheme of arrangement.
    • Little Group (owned by Paul Little) on its successful takeover of Real Estate Corp.
    • Wesfarmers on its acquisition of Greencap by scheme of arrangement.
    • AusNet on the $824 million sell-down of 20% of AusNet by its major shareholder, Singapore Power, to State Grid of China.
    • Waterberg Coal Company on its successful unsolicited takeover bid for Firestone Energy.
    • iSelect’s initial public offer.
    • IFM Investors in relation to various existing and proposed investments.
    • Westpac and Hastings Funds Management in relation to the $2 billion sale of infrastructure assets to the Future Fund and management internalisation proposal.
    • DuluxGroup on its successful unsolicited takeover of Alesco.
    • Orica’s joint venture with Yara and Apache to build an US$800 million ammonium nitrate plant in the Pilbara and its related marketing joint venture.
    • Significant agribusiness company on a takeover defence.
    • Exxaro Resources’ $330 million takeover of African Iron.
    • Forestry Tasmania and GMO’s sale of Tasmanian softwood plantations to New Forests.
    • Pact Group on its acquisition of 19.9% of NCI and sale to facilitate the scheme of arrangement for NCI by ESK Holdings.
    • Pact Group on its acquisition of 50% of PPG.
    • Orica and DuluxGroup on the $1 billion demerger and initial ASX listing of DuluxGroup, Orica’s consumer product division. The second largest new ASX listing in 2010.
    • Bunge’s takeover bid for Tully Sugar.
    • Olam on its acquisition of the Timbercorp and TPIF almond plantations out of insolvency.
    • Pure Energy Resources on the competing takeover bids for it by BG plc and Arrow Energy for $1 billion plus.
    • OZ Minerals on its US$1.4 billion sale to China Minmetals and related takeover and recapitalisation proposals.
    • MYOB on its takeover by Manhattan Software.
    • Orica on its $900 million capital raising.
    • Coles ownership review process culminating in the $22 billion acquisition by Wesfarmers, Australia’s largest ever takeover.
    • Olam International on its successful recommended takeover bid for Queensland Cotton.
    • Orica on its $900 million acquisition of Minova.
    • MFS takeover of S8 to create a $1.7 billion merged company.
    • Oceana Gold on its merger with Climax Mining by scheme of arrangement and on Oceana Gold’s $146 million sell-down by GRD, its 57% shareholder.
    • Crosby Capital on its successful takeover bid for Orchard Petroleum (2006) and takeover bids for various other companies including Indophil Resources.
    • Australian Government on the sale of its remaining 51% interest in Telstra (‘T3’) for $15.4 billion.
    • Orica in its consortium with a Macquarie Bank led vehicle to acquire the Dyno Nobel explosives business for $US1.7 billion.
    • ABC Learning Centre’s parallel acquisitions of Peppercorn Management and Child Care Centres of Australia via schemes of arrangement.
    • MYOB’s merger by scheme of arrangement with Solution 6.
    • Great Energy Alliance Consortium acquisition of Loy Yang A (power station and coal mine) for approximately $3.5 billion.
    • Initial public offering of Telstra for $14.3 billion. The largest IPO in the world in 1997.

    Takeovers Panel matter experience

    Apart from being a member of the Takeovers Panel, Neil has successfully represented clients in many matters before the Takeover Panel including: Cromwell Property Group, Australian Whisky Holdings, Spotless 1 and 2, Firestone Energy, Alesco 1, 2 and 3, Bentley Capital 1 and 1R, Crescent Gold 02, MYOB, Indophil Resources and Queensland Cotton.

    Publications and committees

    Neil previously co-authored the leading Australian text book Takeovers Law and Strategy. He also contributed a chapter on potential reforms to the Takeovers Panel in Takeovers Panel and Takeover Regulation in Australia, a book published to mark the 10th anniversary of the Takeovers Panel. The former President of the Takeovers Panel, Simon McKeon, described the work as being put together by a “pre-eminent group of contributors”.

    Neil is the principal author of Gilbert + Tobin’s annual Takeovers and Schemes Review covering all significant public company takeovers in Australia as well as the 6 monthly State of the M&A Nation. He has also published a number of articles on takeovers law in corporate law journals and in The Australian Financial Review and has appeared on Sky News in relation to takeover matters.

    Neil regularly presents papers on takeover and other corporate law matters and lectures in takeovers and securities laws at the University of Melbourne, where he is a Senior Fellow.

    Neil is a member of the Corporations Committee of the Law Council of Australia.

    Best Lawyers 2023 names Neil as ‘Lawyer of the Year’ for Mergers + Acquisitions Law.

    BEST LAWYERS AUSTRALIA 2023

    Best Lawyers 2022 names Neil as ‘Lawyer of the Year’ for Corporate Law. He has been recognised as Lawyer of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019,2020 and 2021 in Equity Capital Markets Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, Private Equity and Corporate/Governance Practice. Neil was also listed in the areas of Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Corporate Law, Corporate/Governance Practice, Equity Capital Markets Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, Mining Law, Natural Resources Law and Private Equity Law.

    Best Lawyers Australia 2022

    Neil is ranked as a Notable Practitioner for M&A.

    IFLR1000 2022

    Neil is ranked for Corporate / M&A. 

    Chambers Global 2022

    Neil is ranked for Corporate / M&A. 

    Chambers Asia-Pacific 2021

    Neil won Mergers and Acquisitions Partner of the Year. 

    LAWYERS WEEKLY PARTNER OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2020