John Atanaskovic

Major Areas of Specialisation

Corporate and commercial law and litigation, especially mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, fundraising, securities and markets, media and broadcasting, IT&T, trade practices, foreign investment law and privatisation of government enterprises.


BA, LLB (Hons) (University of Sydney)

Admitted as a solicitor to Supreme Court of England and Wales, and to Supreme Court of New South Wales

Notable Assignments (clients are named in bold print)

  • Acting for Bruce Gordon's Birketu regarding shareholder guarantee of, and ultimately a JV bid (by way of DOCA proposal) with Lachlan Murdoch's Illyria for, then ASX listed Ten Network (including associated litigation); and separately, advising Birketu on establishment of Broadcasting Services Act and Takeovers Code compliant share and share swap derivative position of about 23% in ASX listed Nine Entertainment Co.
  • Acting for half owner of Australian Container Freight Services on a court injunction against $9 billion dollar Qube/Brookfield break-up of Asciano, and then successful commercial settlement involving its acquisition of other half of ACFS.
  • Acting for WIN Corporation on five year affiliation agreement with Ten Network, and separately on acquisition of northern NSW regional TV broadcaster from ASX listed Southern Cross.  
  • Acting in the UK for London Stock Exchange premium listed Asia Resource Minerals plc in relation to the US$210 million bid for ARMS by Asia Coal Energy Ventures Limited.
  • WIN Corporation on its sales of Channel 9 Perth and Channel 9 Adelaide to Nine Entertainment Corporation and WIN's renewal of its program supply arrangements with Nine (including the related acquisition of Australian international cricket rights for broadcast over the WIN and Nine networks).
  • Acting in the UK for London Stock Exchange premium listed Glencore plc (and its CEO) on Glencore's scheme of arrangement merger with similarly listed Xstrata plc valued (on announcement) at US$90 billion.
  • Glencore International's on its successful takeover bid for Minara Resources, valuing Minara at in excess of A$1 billion.
  • The Coca Cola Company's response to Lion Nathan/Kirin's proposed A$8 billion acquisition of Coca-Cola Amatil.
  • Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan's block sales of an 11% stake in listed Macquarie Infrastructure Group for about A$340 million, and subsequently a 14% stake in listed Transurban Group for about A$710 million.
  • Indicative proposal by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and others to acquire listed Transurban Group for about A$6.7 billion.
  • Transurban Group's A$1.2 billion takeover of Sydney Roads Group.
  • Castle Harlan Australian Mezzanine Partners' A$700 million sale of its interests in Austar United Communications.
  • James Hardie Industries NV's A$3.5 billion (approx) funding agreement with NSW Government for a new asbestos injuries compensation fund (including drafting all associated agreements, trust deeds, funding arrangements and 3 pieces of legislation), advising on tax exempt and deductibility status, and generally advising on corporate strategy .
  • Glencore International's acquisition of shares and swaps in Centennial Coal, 5 related Takeovers Panel proceedings, and 2 related proceedings in Federal Court of Australia successfully quashing the Panel's orders.
  • Westfield Trust 's A$1.5 billion takeover bid for AMP Shopping Centre Trust, and subsequent A$20 billion restructure to form Westfield Group.
  • Xstrata's A$3.5 billion acquisition of M.I.M. Holdings Limited by way of a scheme of arrangement.
  • Chase Manhattan Bank's A$13 billion takeover bid for Robert Fleming Holdings and its consequent bid for Jardine Fleming Ord Minnett.
  • SingTel Optus' pay television content licensing agreement with FOXTEL.
  • Castle Harlan Australian Mezzanine Partners' acquisition of a controlling interest in Austar United Communications Limited for $56 million by way of a Chapter 11 plan of reorganisation and $22 million follow on takeover bid, and subsequent $63.5 million rights issue.
  • Acting for Glencore International in relation to its underwriting of a A$325 million rights issue by, and Matlin Patterson Global Opportunities LP's A$120 million takeover bid for rights and shares in, Anaconda Nickel Limited (including 19 Takeovers Panel cases).
  • A$425 million acquisition by Goodman Fielder of Bunge Defiance.
  • A$890 million restructure and listing/flotation of TEN Network Holdings, including originating, structuring and negotiating proposal, obtaining ASX and FIRB approvals of "see through share" structure, A$375 million public issue and acquisition of additional shares in TEN Group.
  • Defences to takeover bids of listed entities, including for Memtec to A$500 million bid by US Filter Inc (requiring compliance with both Australian and US law and both ASX and NYSE rules), for GIO Australia Holdings to A$3.3 billion bid by AMP, for Foodland Associated to A$500 million bid by Rank/Coles Myer (successful anti-trust law defence), and for Aztec Mining to A$290 million bid by PosGold.
  • Acquisition by Commonwealth Bank of Australia of A$7 billion Commonwealth Funds Management business from Australian Government.
  • A$700 million IPO and ASX listing of Pacific Magazines and Printing, and for Chase Manhattan Bank and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell as managers and underwriters of A$220 million New Cap Reinsurance IPO in US, Australia and Europe, and ASX listing.
  • Successful Super League trade practices, equity and commercial litigation for News Corporation in Federal Court and High Court.
  • Issues of ordinary and converting preference shares and debt securities in Australia, USA and UK by Westpac Banking Corporation (A$500 million) and News Corporation (A$3,000 million plus).
  • A$1,575 million joint venture with and investment by MCI Communications in News Corporation.
  • Design, negotiation of acceptance by ASX and implementation of non-voting share structure of News Corporation (after years of ASX opposition) - 1.78 billion now on issue valued at over A$38 billion.
  • Sale of controlling interest in South China Morning Post Holdings (Hong Kong) by News Corporation.
  • Privatisation and A$1,200 million public flotation of Government Insurance Office of New South Wales as GIO Australia Holdings acting for New South Wales Government.
  • News Corporation A$2,260 million takeover bid for Herald and Weekly Times and related A$920 million takeover bid for Queensland Press.
  • Restructure of Amatil into Coca Cola Amatil, and flotation of WD & HO Wills as a separate public company.
  • Simultaneous acquisitions of Goodman Group (New Zealand) and Allied Mills (Australia) by Fielder Gillespie Davis to form Goodman Fielder, and thereafter merger with Watties Industries (New Zealand).                
  • Litigation includes: acting for half owner of ACFS against Asciano as mentioned above, for WIN Corporation in novel litigation regarding live internet streaming of TV contentfor Seven West Media against the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police in the quashing of 5 search warrants and 4 assistance orders, and the return of documents wrongly seized by the AFP;  successfully for Glencore International against the Takeovers Panel (including in five Panel proceedings, and in the High Court and two Federal Court of Australia proceedings quashing the Panel's orders in the Panel proceedings); for four former non executive directors of James Hardie in relation to civil penalty proceedings brought against them by ASIC; successfully acting for WIN Corporation against PBL Media and Sunraysia in relation to the approval of the sale by Sunraysia of Channel 9 Perth, and the substitute sale thereof to WIN Corporation.