AHERN, Greg

Enquiry / Availability

AHERN, Greg


Areas of Practice

  • Banking 
  • Commercial
  • Consumer Protection Law
  • Contractual Disputes
  • Corporate Insolvency
  • Corporations Law
  • Partnership Disputes
  • Professional Liability
  • Securities and Investments

 

 

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, copy right and Aged Care.

In the field of Aged Care, Greg has acted for operators of Aged Care facilities including in a complex matter which required consideration of (1) the structure and operation of the Aged Care Act, (2) the certification of residential aged care services to enable aged care operators to charge accommodation fees and charges (which certification process addresses matters such as buildings and equipment), (3) the accreditation of residential aged care services to enable operators to receive subsidies (which accreditation process addresses such matters as health and personal care, lifestyle, safe practices and the physical environment in which the service is provided, management systems and staffing), (4) the charter of resident rights, (5) the governance of aged care operators under the Aged Care Act , (6) the allocation of residential aged care beds by the Commonwealth and the secondary market for those beds and (7) the circumstances in which the Commonwealth will permit the relocation of aged care beds from one facility to another.

Greg has an extensive corporate and commercial practice, while his predominant areas of practice in these areas are in the fields of the Corporations Act (including takeovers and reconstructions through a scheme of arrangement), the duties of fiduciaries such as directors, partners and trustees and in acting for clients in complex general commercial disputes. Greg has also acted for a number of rural law clients. Greg's Schemes and Takeovers CV can be found hereand his Rural Law CV can be found here.

Examples of work undertaken by Greg in these corporate and commercial fields are set out below.

A. Corporations Act

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

Greg has acted in 27 schemes of arrangement including schemes to effect takeovers, mergers, demergers and internal reconstructions. These have included schemes of substantial transaction value such as the $1.9b takeover of Sirtex Medical Limited in 2018 by CDH Genetech Limited and China Grand Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Holdings Limited, 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 or target 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). Greg however has also acted for bidders in takeover schemes of arrangement including for private equity bidders and acted in 2018 for CDH Genetech Limited and China Grand Pharmaceutical Healthcare Holdings Limited in their $1.9b takeover of Sirtex Medical Limited, which scheme of arrangement was approved by the Federal Court in Sydney in September 2018.

Greg is available to act in schemes of arrangement both in Victoria and interstate.

Recent schemes of arrangement in which Greg has acted include the 2018 takover of Sirtex Medical Limited (in which he acted for the bidders) , the 2017 proposed takeover of SMS Management & Technology Limited by DWS Limited (which did not proceed by reason of a third party offer) (in which he acted for SMS), 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) (in which he acted for Patties Foods), the 2016 takeover of Unity Mining Ltd by Diversified Minerals Pty Ltd (in which he acted for the bidders), the merger in 2016 of M2/Vocus referred to above (in which he acted for M2), 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 (in which he acted for Oakton) and the 2014 internal reconstruction/amalgamation of the Little Real Estate Group. Greg was also retained (2015) in relation to the demerger of Clydedale Bank from the NAB.

Greg co-lectures on the subject of "Schemes of Arrangement" (as a senior fellow) in the Melbourne Masters Program (University of Melbourne Law School).

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

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 law 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 from 2014 to 2015 in a multi-million dollar contractual dispute commenced by a John Holland company in the Victorian Supreme Court in 2014 concerning the maintenace of Virgin Australia's fleet of aircraft.

2. Acting in 2017 in an escrow contractual dispute on behalf of sellers of shares under a share sale agreement.

3. Acting from 2016 to 2018 for a retired farmer in a farming partnerhsip dispute against his son-in-law.

4. Acting for Bob Jane in 2012 (against his son Rodney) in proceedings commenced in the Victorian Supreme Court in relation to Calder Park Raceway.

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


 

 

 

From 01 Jul 2008, liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation.


 

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