John Keeves Partner

Meet John

John is a senior corporate lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience advising on major projects, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, corporate governance, and corporate and securities law, with a focus on large and complex transactions, public markets mergers and acquisitions and equity capital markets.

He has extensive transactional experience with the energy and resources sector, but has advised across many of the sectors most important to the Australian economy including technology, resources, agribusiness, infrastructure, transport, and financial services, and has advised Australian and international corporates and investment funds, governments and government business enterprises, and family offices.

He has a particular interest in energy technology including energy storage and developments in hydrogen-related energy technology, having advised the SA Government on the Hornsdale Power Reserve “Big Battery” at Jamestown, South Australia and led the Johnson Winter & Slattery team advising the SA Government generally on its energy plan following the September 2016 State-wide blackout, including grants and loans by the Renewable Technology Fund.

He is currently a member of the Expert Panel advising the Australian Prime Minister’s Deregulation Task Force in relation to modernising business communications.

John was a member of the Australian Takeovers Panel from 2006 to 2015 and a member of the Companies Auditors & Liquidators Disciplinary Board from 2004 to 2014.

John has been a Director of SA Government technology agency TechInSA, Chair of the Council of Prince Alfred College, National Chair of the Corporations Committee of the Law Council of Australia, and Chair of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia. He was also a Director, and is currently an Honorary Life Member, of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (formerly the Securities Institute of Australia).

He has been a member of the Executive of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia from 2005 to 2007 and 2009 to date, was the inaugural Chair of Business Law Section’s Technology in M&A Working Group and was involved in the BLS’s ina.  John has a particular interest in the application of technology and project management to corporate transactions.

Experience

Mergers, Acquisitions & Reconstructions

ABB Grain

Acting in relation to Viterra Inc.'s acquisition by $2.1 billion scrip and cash scheme of arrangement.

Centro Australia Wholesale Fund and Centro Direct Property Fund

Advised on the reconstruction of the Centro group involving the aggregation of Centro funds (equity value in excess of $3 billion) and restructure of Centro Properties' over $3 billion in senior debt.

CP2 Ltd/Horizon Roads consortium

Advised on the $2.3 billion acquisition of ConnectEast Group by trust scheme.

Envestra

Advised on the $2.4 billion takeover by Cheung Kong Consortium, and on APA’s $2.1 billion proposed merger by scheme of arrangement.

Gerard Lighting Group

Advised on the $200 million acquisition by CHAMP by a scheme of arrangement.

Equity Capital Markets

ABB Grain

Advised on its $187 million capital raising by way of private placement plus share purchase plan.

Envestra

Advised on its $130 million private placement and $32.5 million share purchase plan; and advised on its $111 million capital raising by way of undocumented rights issue.

Gerard Lighting Group

Advised on its $177 million ASX listing, including $85 million in underwritten new equity, including corporate restructure and refinancing.

Major projects

SA Department of Premier and Cabinet

Energy Plan Projects, including 270MW Emergency Generation, 100 MW Battery (world’s largest grid connected battery - constructed), 150MW Solar Thermal Project (world’s largest - announced), Virtual Power Plant, Government-wide Power and Gas Procurement, various projects financed from SA Renewable Technology Fund.

SA Water Corporation

Build, Own, Operate (BOO) arrangement for Wastewater Treatment Project at Aldinga, SA.

SA Health Commission and SA Department of Treasury & Finance

Construction and private financing of new Mount Gambier Public Hospital.

Recognition

Named “Adelaide Lawyer of the Year” (as judged by his peers) for Equity Capital Markets Law
Best Lawyers Australia, 2020
Listed as a leading lawyer in Corporate Law
Best Lawyers Australia, 2016 - 2020
Listed as a leading lawyer in Corporate/Governance Practice
Best Lawyers Australia, 2009 - 2020
Listed as a leading lawyer in Equity Capital Markets, Oil & Gas and Venture Capital Markets law
Best Lawyers Australia, 2020
Brilliant advice.... Clear, well-reasoned and practical.
Client Feedback 2019
Recommended in Capital Markets, Corporate and M&A and Natural Resources Law.
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2018
Ranked as a leading lawyer in Corporate/M&A.
Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
John Keeves heads the team and is valued for his extensive "exposure to complex M&A matters" and his sensible approach to matters, which "buries the ego and unnecessary mumbo-jumbo."
Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
Practice head John Keeves has over 20 years' experience in this space, which is "valuable in assisting us to plan adequately and execute efficiently."
Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2014

Career & qualifications

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons)
  • Bachelor of Economics (Accounting Major)
  • Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice

Memberships

  • Finsia (Life Member)
  • AMPLA
  • ACC Australia
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • AVCAL
  • Business Law Section, Law Council of Australia (Former Chairman), Member Corporations Committee, Member Foreign Investment Committee
  • International Bar Association, Member Corporate M&A Committee, Member Corporate Social Responsibility Committee
  • American Bar Association, Member Business Law Section

Insights Read more insight

Commonwealth Government introduces a Bill to establish the Grid Reliability Fund

If enacted, the Bill will establish the Grid Reliability Fund (Fund) under the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012 (Cth) (Act) and appropriate $1 billion to the Fund.

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Go ahead for electronic signing of documents

In the biggest shake-up of Australia’s antiquated company signing requirements, the Federal Government has temporarily modified the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to allow for companies to...

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COVID-19: temporary changes to meeting provisions under the Corporations Act

The Commonwealth Treasurer exercised emergency powers under the Corporations Act to facilitate virtual meetings and electronic execution of documents by companies.

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