John Keeves Partner

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 (including contested takeovers) and equity capital markets.

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 (including contested takeovers) 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, beverages, education 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 was until recently a member of the Expert Panel advising the Deregulation Task Force of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in relation to modernising business communications, and is Chair of the Law Council of Australia’s Modernising Document Execution Working Group.

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 is a member of the Executive of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia (2005 to 2007 and 2009 to date), was the inaugural Chair of Business Law Section’s Technology in M&A Working Group, was inaugural  Chair of the Law Council’s Business and Human Rights Working Group, and was instrumental in establishing the BLS’s Foreign Investment Committee. .

John has been a partner of Johnson Winter Slattery for 29 years and during that time has performed various roles, including Practice Group Head of the firm’s National Transactional and Advisory Practice Group, and Convenor of the Corporate (M&A/ECM) Specialist Group.

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

Career & qualifications

Qualifications

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

Memberships

  • Finsia
  • AMPLA
  • Association of Corporate Counsel Australia
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Limited
  • Business Law Section, Law Council of Australia (Former Chairman), Member Corporations Committee, Member Foreign Investment Committee
  • International Bar Association, Member Corporate Mergers & Acquisition Committee, Member Corporate Social Responsibility Committee
  • American Bar Association, Member Business Law Section

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