HSF acts as Australian port sold for A$9.7bn to investors including Chinese

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Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and MinterEllison are advising on the A$9.7bn (£5.6bn) sale of Australia’s biggest container and cargo port to a consortium including China Investment Corp.

HSF is representing the Lonsdale consortium, which won the bidding for a lease of the Port of Melbourne from the Government of Victoria for a term of 50 years.

HSF’s team is led by Brisbane projects partner Peter Butler and Melbourne corporate partner Robert Nicholson. The pair are supported out of Melbourne by corporate partner Matthew FitzGerald, competition partner Chris Jose and projects partner Brendan Quinn. Brisbane projects partner Luke Simpson is also on the deal.

Minter Ellison is acting for the Government of Victoria on the deal, with a team led by Melbourne corporate finance partner Peter Block and Brisbane infrastructure partner Andrew Rentoul.

The transaction is expected to complete at the end of October.

News of the deal comes after the Australian government blocked the sale of New South Wales electricity provider Ausgrid last month to Chinese and Hong Kong bidders, citing security concerns.

Meanwhile, earlier this month it emerged that a 10-partner team from HSF has quit to join White & Case. Eight partners in Australia, led by Quinn, will launch the US firm’s presence in the country with offices in Melbourne and Sydney.