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:

  • AB InBev on the $16 billion sale of Carlton & United Breweries to Asahi Group.
  • DuluxGroup on its $4.2 billion takeover by Nippon Paint.
  • BGH Capital on its $2 billion takeover of Navitas.
  • Syrah Resources on its capital raisings in 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016.
  • Harbour Energy on its $16 billion takeover proposal for Santos.
  • Kin Group on its unsolicited takeover offer for The Reject Shop.
  • Jacobs Engineering on its $4.6 billion sale of its energy, chemicals and resources group to Worley Parsons.
  • BGH Capital on its $4 billion takeover proposal for Healthscope.
  • Cleanaway on its $831 million acquisition of Tox Free by scheme of arrangement and related equity raising.
  • Convenience Retail REIT in relation to its successful IPO.
  • AB InBev/CUB on its acquisitions of 4 Pines and Pirate Life.
  • TPG consortium’s $2.7 billion proposal to acquire Fairfax Media.
  • Ansell’s A$800 million sale of its Sexual Wellness business to Humanwell Healthcare/Citic.
  • Spotless on its defence of the $1.2 billion hostile takeover bid by Downer EDI Limited.
  • APN Property Group on its proposed IPO of its Retail Property Fund (service stations).
  • Wesfarmers in respect of its strategic review and proposed IPO of Officeworks.
  • Potential strategic buyer’s consideration of the Arrium assets.
  • APN Property Group’s sale of Generation Healthcare Management and Generation Healthcare REIT.
  • Syrah Resources $200 million placement (2016) and successful $212 million entitlement offer (2015).
  • Juwai’s proposed IPO and Lux Group’s proposed IPO.
  • AB InBev on Australian aspects of its US$117 billion takeover of SAB Miller (CUB/Fosters), the largest takeover in the world in 2016.
  • Aquis proposed redevelopment of Canberra Casino and related regulatory reforms.
  • iSelect on its takeover discussions.
  • Bidder for Transgrid in NSW poles & wires privatisation, ultimately sold for $10.3 billion.
  • Bidder for Swisse, ultimately sold for $1.6 billion.
  • Vail Resorts on its acquisition of Perisher.
  • Victorian State on the termination settlement of the East-West Link project.
  • Orica on its proposed $750 million sale of its Chemicals business to Blackstone.
  • Wesfarmers on its successful 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.
  • Stanhill Capital Partners on its takeover of Robust Resources.
  • IFM on the sale of Endeavour Learning Group to Vocation.
  • Aurora Oil & Gas on its $2.6 billion takeover by Baytex Energy via scheme of arrangement.
  • Little Group (owned by Paul Little) on its takeover of Real Estate Corp.
  • SP AusNet on the $824 million sell-down of 20% of SP AusNet by its major shareholder, Singapore Power, to State Grid of China.
  • iSelect on its initial public offering.
  • 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 bid for Alesco.
  • Orica on its Pilbara JV with Yara and Apache to build a US$800 million ammonium nitrate plant.
  • Exxaro Resources on its successful takeover of African Iron.

Neil has a track record of successfully advising leading clients on company defining or bet the farm transactions including:

  • Orica and DuluxGroup on the $1 billion demerger and ASX listing of DuluxGroup.
  • Pure Energy on the competing $1 billion takeover bids for it by BG plc and Arrow Energy.
  • OZ Minerals on its US$1.4 billion asset sale to China Minmetals and related takeover and recapitalisation proposals.
  • MYOB on its takeover by Manhattan Software, a private equity consortium.
  • Coles on its $22 billion takeover by Wesfarmers (Australia’s largest ever takeover).
  • Orica on its acquisition of Dyno Nobel in a consortium with Macquarie Bank for US$1.7 billion.

Best Lawyers 2020 named Neil as 'Lawyer of the Year' for his work in Equity Capital Markets law. He has been recognised as Lawyer of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2019 in 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 2020

Neil is ranked for Corporate / M&A. 

Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019

Neil is ranked for Corporate / M&A. 

Chambers Global 2019

Neil is ranked for Corporate / M&A. 

Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2019