Mills Oakley expects $1 billion in deals

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Mills Oakley is expecting to advise on over $1bn in deals this financial year, with the firm positive the market has moved well past the ‘tyre kicking’ phase.

The firm experienced its best December and January for many years this year, and completed in excess of $500m in deals in the first half of the 2013/14 financial year.

The firm’s pipeline for the first six months of 2014 also looks extremely promising.

“There’s definitely been a shift in sentiment,” Mills Oakley Lawyers corporate advisory partner Dan Livingston says.

“We feel the market has finally moved beyond the ‘tyre kicking’ phase and more deals are being seriously considered. We are also seeing significantly more activity in the capital markets/IPO areas.”

Livingston says increased business confidence has been the key driver for better fortunes in late 2013 and early 2014.

“Clearly the Australian economy still has its challenges, with productivity and competitiveness ongoing issues, but ultimately I think there has been an improvement in business confidence brought on by the Federal election, lower interest rates and some positive data globally,” Livingston says.

Firms below the top tier that are clear on their value proposition will also be key beneficiaries of the upturn in the market, Livingston says.

“Clients wanting an alternative to top-tier firms have been seeking us out, so our market positioning has been a key impetus for winning work,” he says. “Particularly pleasing is the boost we’ve experienced in repeat work and existing client referrals.”

Deal flow is significantly higher than from the same time in 2013, with a typically quiet December and January last year followed by a ‘lag’ well into February.

“This year we are firing on all cylinders. The work flow barely slowed over Christmas and the first quarter of this year has been hectic. We expect the current pace to continue.”

Livingston says Mills Oakley has been especially busy in mining and financial services industry consolidation, aged care, IT and  IP-based industries.

“We support analysis that mining will continue to punch above its weight in its contribution to GDP for the foreseeable future,” he says. “As such, we believe this is one of the areas in which we are well placed to leverage market opportunities in 2014.”

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