HK billionaire’s latest Australian power play enlists two top firms

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As business tycoon Li Ka-shing adds another company to his already extensive energy portfolio in Australia, two top firms have taken lead roles in the deal.

King & Wood Mallesons acted for Cheung Kong Infrastructure, which led a consortium that bought 100% of the stapled securities of energy distribution company DUET Group, which was advised by Allens. The consortium was made up of Li’s companies, which he is directing away from investing in Europe due to uncertainties in the region.

The deal, which was implemented on 15 May through four inter-conditional schemes comprising three company schemes of arrangement and a trust scheme, was worth $7.4bn.

It comes after the Foreign Investment Review Board approved Cheung Kong’s bid for DUET last month. Cheung Kong made headlines last year after regulators rejected its bid for New South Wales power distributor Ausgrid in a shock decision.

KWM fielded a multidisciplinary cross-border for the major deal. The Australian team was led by projects partner Louis Chiam, M&A partner David Eliakim, M&A senior associate Daniel Natale, and projects senior associate Jonathan Mitchell. The firm’s Hong Kong team was led by partners Hayden Flinn and John Baptist Chan, and senior associate Amy Chan.

The Allens legal team was led by partners Marc Kemp and Stuart McCulloch. There were assisted by counsel Andrew Wong, senior associate Charles Ashton, and lawyers Isaac Wall and Harry Cook from the M&A practice; senior overseas practitioner James Kanabar and associates Patrick Boyle and Virosh Poologasundram from the funds practice; partner Alan Maxton and senior associate Morgan Phelan from the finance practice; and partner Richard Harris and senior associate Daniel Macpherson from the litigation practice.

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