Mr Greg J Ahern

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Greg is regularly engaged to act and appear in significant Corporations Act matters and in complex general commercial disputes, including contractual disputes.

Greg came to the Bar in 1995 following 5 years as a commercial solicitor with Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills) where his work included capital raisings, mergers and acquisitions and advising listed public companies on matters such as corporate governance, share plans and general meetings.

At the Bar, Greg has acted in a broad range of commercial matters. These have included matters in the areas of takeovers and reconstructions, investor class actions, corporate insolvency, managed investment schemes, shareholder disputes (including oppression proceedings), professional negligence, building and construction, trade practices, aviation, aged care and copyright.

Greg has an extensive commercial practice, while his predominant areas of practice are in the fields of the Corporations Act (including takeovers and reconstructions through a scheme or schemes of arrangement), the duties of fiduciaries such as directors, partners and trustees and in acting for clients in complex general commercial disputes. Examples of work undertaken by Greg in these fields are set out below.

A. Corporations Act


1. Takeovers and reconstructions (through a scheme or schemes of arrangement)

Greg has acted in over 20 schemes of arrangement in the Victorian Supreme Court, including schemes to effect takeovers, mergers, demergers and internal reconstructions.  These have included schemes of substantial transaction value such as the $3.8b merger in 2016 of M2 Group Limited with Vocus Communications Limited, the demerger in 2011 of Treasury Wine Estates from the Foster's Group, the subsequent $10.5b takeover of Foster's in 2011 by SABMiller and the $1.95b takeover in 2010 of Healthscope.  In the vast majority of the schemes in which Greg has acted, he represented the scheme company (being the plaintiff in the proceeding and the company responsible for obtaining the required court orders for dispatching the scheme documentation and for having the scheme of arrangement approved).

Details of the schemes of arrangement in which Greg has acted can be found here.  

Recent schemes of arrangement in which Greg has acted include the 2016 takeover of Patties Foods Limited by an entity owned by funds managed or advised by Pacific Equity Partners Pty Limited (which invovled cash/scrip consideration), the 2016 takeover of Unity Mining Ltd by Diversified Minerals Pty Ltd, the 2016 M2/Vocus merger referred to above, the 2015 internal restructure of AusNet Services (which involved destapling the relevant securities and an associated trust scheme), the 2014 takeover of Oakton Limited by Dimension Data Australia Pty Limited and the 2014 internal reconstruction/amalgamation of the Little Real Estate Group. Greg has also co-lectured on the subject of "Schemes of Arrangement" (as a senior fellow) in the Melbourne Masters Program (University of Melbourne Law School).

2. Managed Investment Schemes

Greg acted for Gunns Plantations Limited in its capacity as the responsible entity of certain managed investment schemes and the liquidators of that company in a proceeding in which another entity sought (unsucessfully) to become the responsible entity: Re Gunns Finance Limited (No 2) [2013] VSC 365.  Greg also appeared in relation to an application by a party in that proceeding to re-open the case, which application was unsuccessful: Re Gunns Plantations Limited (No 3) [2013] VSC 430.  Greg also subsequently appeared on behalf of the liquidators seeking directions under section 511 of the Corporations Act in relation to the sale of certain assets of those managed investment schemes:  Re Gunns Plantations Limited [2014] VSC 239.

3. Investor Class Actions

  • Westpoint class action - Greg acted for State Trustees Limited (in its capacity as a debenture trustee) in an investor class action commenced by ASIC (on behalf of debenture holders) in the Federal Court arising out of the financial collapse of the Westpoint Group, in which the claims made included an alleged breach of section 283DA of the Corporations Act.
  • Fincorp class action - Greg acted for Sandhurst Trustees Limited (in its capacity as a debenture trustee) in an investor class action commenced by debenture holders in the Federal Court arising out of the financial collapse of the Fincorp Group, in which the claims made included an alleged breach of section 283DA of the Corporations Act.


B. Fiduciary Duties

Examples of Greg's advisory practice in this field include:


1. Directors - advising directors in relation to a merger proposal.


2. Partners - advising a partnership as to governance matters and partner duties and obligations.


3. Trustees - advising a receiver in relation to the role of a debenture trustee in the context of a corporate collapse.


C. General Commercial Disputes

Recent examples of Greg's work in this field include:

1. Acting for Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd in a contractual dispute commenced by a John Holland company in the Victorian Supreme Court in 2014. 


2. Acting for Bob Jane in 2012 in proceedings commenced in the Victorian Supreme Court in relation to Calder Park Raceway.


3.Acting for the City of Casey in 2012 in the Victorian Supreme Court in a class action proceeding relating to a landfill site.

 




 


Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation.

Formal Details 0

  • Admitted to Practice
    02 April 1990
  • First Signing Bar Roll
    30 November 1995
  • Qualifications
    B.Ec., LL.B

Areas of Speciality

  • Corporations & Securities
  • Equity
  • Insolvency Law
  • Insurance & Professional Negligence
  • Intellectual Property & Trade Practices