Profile of Charles Ashton

Charles Ashton

Partner, BCom(Finance) LLB(Hons)

About Charles Ashton

Charles is an experienced M&A professional who has advised on many of Australia's most significant M&A deals across a broad range of sectors. He advises listed companies and private capital investors on large-scale public and private M&A, competitive sale processes, foreign investment regulation, listing rules and corporate governance.

Charles has particular expertise in public market transactions advising on takeover bids, schemes of arrangement, takeover defences, Takeovers Panel proceedings and activist situations. He also regularly advises on the structuring and execution of pre-bid stakes and equity derivative trades.

He is a member of the Corporations Committee of the Law Council of Australia and Editor of Australia's leading text on public company mergers: Takeovers and Reconstructions in Australia published by LexisNexis. He previously worked at Linklaters in London.

Charles' public markets experience includes:
  • Liontown Resources – on its response to the proposed $6.6 billion acquisition by Albermarle.
  • Malteries Soufflet – on its $1.5 billion proposed acquisition of United Malt Group by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • Talon Energy – on its response to a proposed all scrip acquisition by Strike Energy by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • Fortuna Silver Mines – on the all scrip acquisition of Chesser Resources by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • Burgundy Diamond Mines – on the acquisition of the Ekati Diamond Mine, $234m capital raising and relisting of merged group on the ASX.
  • New Century Resources – on its response to a recommended off-market takeover bid by Sibanye-Stilwater.
  • IFM Global Infrastructure Fund - on its acquisition of a 19% interest in global toll road operator, Atlas Arteria through various cash and physically settled total return swaps, after market acquisitions and collar transactions.
  • Stonepeak Partners and Skip Essential Infrastructure Fund - on the acquisition of 19.9% interest in Genex Power and $350 million proposed acquisition of Genex by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • Grok Ventures – on its acquisition of a combined relevant and economic interest of 11.27% in AGL through various equity derivative trades, its successful campaign against AGL's proposed demerger and its successful campaign to reconstitute the board of AGL.
  • Brookfield and Grok Ventures - on their proposed $9 billion acquisition of AGL Energy by scheme of arrangement.
  • BGH Capital - on its successful $700 million contested off-market takeover bid for Virtus Health and associated takeovers panel proceedings.
  • KKR – in relation to its $20 billion proposal to acquire Ramsay Health Limited by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • Ares – in relation to its proposed C$841 million preferred equity investment into Dye & Durham in connection with its proposed A$3.5 billion of Link Group.
  • KKR, Ontario Teachers and PSP Investments – $5.2 billion acquisition of Spark Infrastructure by way of inter-conditional creditor and trust schemes.
  • Athene and Apollo Global Management - $720 million acquisition of an 18% interest in Challenger Limited.
  • Rhipe Limited – $400 million acquisition by Crayon Holdings by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • Kiland Limited – in relation to its off-market buy-back and subsequent accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer.
  • Crown Resorts – on its response to the A$9 billion takeover proposal from Blackstone, the merger proposal from The Star and the US$3 billion funding proposal from Oaktree Capital.
  • Samuel Terry Asset Management - in relation to various matters including:
    • its off-market takeover bid for Eildon Capital;
    • its on-market takeover bid for Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers;
    • its off-market takeover bid for FAR Limited;
    • the acquisition of a 19.9% stake in Horizon Oil Limited;
    • its successful campaign to appoint a director to the board of Namoi Cotton.
  • SS&C Technologies – $3 billion proposal to acquire Link Group by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • Zenith Energy – $250 million acquisition by Pacific Equity Partners, OPTrust and Infrastructure Capital Group by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • Earlypay Limited – responding to proposed merger with Consolidated Operations Group Limited and takeover by Scottish Pacific Group Limited.
  • National Storage REIT – responding to $1.7-1.9 billion competing takeover proposals from Gaw Capital Partners, Warburg Pincus and Public Storage.
  • Advanced Personnel Management – advised Quadrant Private Equity-backed APM in relation to its acquisition of Konekt Limited by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • QIC Private Capital – $535 million acquisition of Pacific Energy Limited by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • Wynn Resorts – $10 billion proposal to acquire Crown Resorts Limited by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • Qube Holdings – off-market cash and scrip takeover of logistics operator Chalmers Limited.
  • Unibail-Rodamco – $32.7 billion acquisition of Westfield Corporation by way of inter-conditional company and trust schemes, the listing of the new Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield stapled group on the ASX, Euronext Paris and Euronext Amsterdam and associated demerger and listing of One Market Limited on the ASX.
  • DUET Group – $7.4 billion acquisition by a consortium led by Cheung Kong Infrastructure of 100% of DUET's stapled securities by way of inter-conditional company and trust schemes.
  • Ferrovial – $813 million successful hostile takeover bid for Broadspectrum Limited.
  • Brookfield – $420 million take private of the Brookfield Prime Property Fund.
  • Genting Hong Kong – investment in The Star Entertainment Group Limited.
  • News Limited – $1.94 billion acquisition of Consolidated Media Holdings by scheme of arrangement.
  • Conquest Mining (now Evolution Mining) – successful hostile takeover bid for North Queensland Metals Limited and acquisition of HSK Gold.
  • AGL Limited – acquisition of Mosaic Oil NL by scheme of arrangement.
  • FerrAus Limited – successful defence of a hostile takeover bid by Wah Nam International.
  • Newcrest Mining – $9.5 billion merger with Lihir Gold.
  • Queensland Treasury – initial public offering of QR National Limited.
Charles' private M&A experience includes:
  • Stonepeak Partners – in consortium with Spirit Super in relation to their proposed acquisition of Geelong Ports.
  • Kiland Limited – on its partnership with Biocare Projects to establish the world's largest biochar carbon removal project and subsequent funding round.
  • Global Infrastructure Partners – US$750 million investment into a newly established JV with Total GLNG Australia, in relation to Total's interest in the Gladstone LNG Project’s downstream infrastructure facilities.
  • Global Infrastructure Partners – US$2.5 billion acquisition of Shell’s 26.25% interest in the QCLNG common facilities.
  • BP International – establishment of $2.2 billion of real estate capital partnerships across Australia and New Zealand with Charter Hall-led consortia.
  • BAE Systems – acquisition of ASC Shipbuilding from the Commonwealth of Australia to support the Commonwealth's $35 billion Hunter class frigate shipbuilding program for the Royal Australian Navy.
  • Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield – in connection with several multi-billion dollar domestic and cross-border reorganisations following the merger of Unibail-Rodamco and Westfield.
  • NSW Treasury – $9.3 billion sale of a 51 per cent interest in the WestConnex project to Transurban.
  • Aware Super – $360 million combined debt and equity investment in Oak Tree Group, being the super fund's first investment in the retirement village sector.
  • NSW Treasury – $10.3 billion 99-year lease of TransGrid to the NSW Electricity Networks Consortium.
  • NSW Treasury – sale of Pillar Administration to Mercer.
  • Archer Capital – $938 million divestment of private hospital business Healthe Care to China's Luye Medical Group.
  • Novartis – US$7.1 billion sale of its vaccines business to GSK, which formed part of a complex global asset swap involving the US$14.5 billion purchase of GSK’s oncology business and the contribution of its OTC business to a joint venture with GSK's healthcare business.
  • Siemens – £985 million acquisition of Rolls-Royce's global energy gas turbine and compressor business.
  • Alberta Investment Management Corporation, Allianz Capital Funds, Hastings Funds Management and EDF Invest – successful $3.2 billion consortium bid for Porterbrook Trains, a UK rolling stock leasing company.