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Corporate Law Definition
In Australia, the practice area denoted by the expression "Corporate Law" is very broad. It is typically understood to encompass the following specific practice areas:
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Equity Capital Markets
- Private Equity
- Corporate Governance
These areas often intersect, however. For example, a client may need to raise capital as a prelude to an acquisition, with the capital raising and the acquisition raising various corporate governance issues.
Similarly, a private equity fund may acquire a controlling shareholding in a listed company and seek representation on the Board of Directors, which in turn raises corporate governance issues. Alternatively, a private equity fund may wish to exit its investment in an entity by undertaking a dual track IPO and trade sale process.
It is common for Australian corporate lawyers to have expertise and experience across most of these areas, although specialisation in one or two areas is also becoming more common given the increasing complexity and sophistication of transactions.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Australian lawyers practising in this area represent entities that wish to merge with or acquire the shares or assets of another entity in the same industry sector (to increase the acquirer's industry scale), a complementary industry sector (to achieve, for example, vertical integration with the acquirer's other operations), or an entirely new industry sector (to achieve earnings diversity). Lawyers practising in this area also may represent entities that are the subject of a merger proposal or a sale/acquisition proposal. In other words, Australian M&A lawyers typically act on either the buy-side or the sell-side of these transactions.
Equity Capital Markets
Australian lawyers practising in this area represent entities that issue securities to raise capital, security holders seeking to sell their securities, or banks and investment banks that underwrite and sell such securities.
Private equity lawyers are involved in establishing private equity funds (usually in the form of corporations, limited partnerships, and trusts) and structuring private equity transactions. Private equity funds include:
- leveraged buy-out funds;
- venture capital funds;
- hedge funds;
- real estate investment funds; and
- infrastructure investment funds.
Private equity lawyers work closely with specialist lawyers in areas such as M&A, Equity Capital Markets, Banking and Finance, and Tax to ensure all relevant legal aspects of private equity transactions are covered. This often involves coordinating foreign law advice.
Corporate governance is the system by which companies are directed and managed, including the division of decision-making responsibility between a company's shareholders, its Board of Directors, and executive management. Corporate governance seeks to promote transparency and accountability in the management of companies, in turn contributing to investor protection and confidence in publicly listed companies.
These practice areas are open for nominations but are not yet included in our publications.
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