Mills Oakley helps tech firm fund $425m acquisition

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Mills Oakley has advised on one of the largest secondary raisings on the ASX this year.

The national firm advised Appen on its $300m equity capital raising, which will fund the upfront consideration for the acquisition of Figure Eight Technologies, a San Francisco-based company focused on the application of machine learning in autonomous vehicles, natural language processing, and intelligent chatbots. The acquisition, announced last month, is worth up to $425m.

The secondary raising consisted of a $285m multi-jurisdictional placement to new and existing institutional investors, as well as a non-underwritten share purchase plan for $15m.  The placement was fully underwritten by Citigroup Global Markets and co-managed by Bell Potter Securities.

Iain Laughland was the lead partner for the Mills Oakley team, which included senior associate Emma Harnett, associate Renée Gilead, and lawyer John Breen.

Mills Oakley said that the transaction had several parallel cross-border work streams involving M&A, ECM, and debt. The law firms team assisted Appen’s management deliver the capital raising in a short timeframe to coincide with signing the acquisition.

Gilbert + Tobin acted as Australian legal counsel for the lead manager and underwriter. Pacific Advisors and Davis Wright Tremaine were the US counsels to Appen on the acquisition.

Iain Laughland