Geoff heads our commercial team after working in some of the biggest firms in New Zealand and internationally. He provides his clients with a balance of first class legal skills and real world “getting things done” common sense.
With a background in competition and securities law, a significant stint as an international M&A lawyer and over seven years in Nelson acting for a diverse range of commercial clients, he has a wealth of commercial experience and knowledge.
Geoff currently acts for the complete spectrum of commercial clients – from large listed corporates through to small family run businesses and sole traders. He approaches his practice depending on client needs across that spectrum – achieving what the client wants as quickly, accurately and cost-effectively as possible.
Geoff prides himself on his ability to make the complex simple and bring real commercial value to his clients, beyond simply telling them what the law says. He also understands that time is almost always a critical factor and so prides himself on his quick turnaround times.
Geoff’s core areas are as set out below.
Geoff advises on all manner of business structuring matters, from the preparation of shareholders’ agreements for small start-ups, to capital raising for closely and broadly held companies, to complex restructuring work for large corporates, charities, Maori organisations and overseas investors. He believes that whatever the size of the business, getting the structure right at the outset (or fixing it if it isn’t) will save the client in the long run.
Geoff prepares and advises on the most complicated of contractual arrangements to the most basic of standard terms. Whether it is a complex 100-page agreement or a one page set of terms and conditions on the back of an order form, Geoff believes that clients need to know that the contact they are about to rely upon does what they expect it to do and doesn’t do anything else.
Geoff has extensive experience in relation to commercial property, developing and leasing matters from both the tenant and landlord perspective. He acts for a significant number of major property owners and developers, in particular in the top of the South. He also acts for a broad range of tenants, from corporates with a nationwide presence to small business owners looking to lease a shop. This breadth of experience means that Geoff is ideally positioned to provide new clients with up-to-date commercial property and leasing advice.
Geoff has a particular specialty in property syndication work.
Geoff advises national and international clients in relation to dairy, sheep & beef, forestry, horticulture and aquaculture matters, in particular in relation to property acquisitions and disposals, structuring and syndication work.
Geoff is a trusted adviser to a number of Maori organisations in the top of the South, advising in particular on governance, structuring, property, aquaculture and business sale and purchase matters. One of the first pieces of work Geoff worked on having arrived in Nelson, and something which he remains very proud of, was the establishment of the Kono entity owned by Wakatu Incorporation.
Geoff appreciates that buying or selling a business is a stressful time for anybody, whether they are a multi-billion pound company in the UK or a small one-man businesses in Takaka. Whether it is a share sale, business and asset sale, purchase out of liquidation or administration, takeover, management buy-out or a “naked auction” conducted in accordance with U.S. bankruptcy law, Geoff has probably done it before and is well placed to guide you through every step of the way with complete confidence.
Geoff has advised numerous start-ups through the difficult but exciting process of starting a business with the right foundation for success. He has particular experience in advising franchisees on their entry into their first franchising agreement and everything it involves. Geoff recognises that cashflow is often tight at start-up stage and that clients are looking for value from their advisers.
Geoff has advised numerous overseas clients on their obligations under the Overseas Investment Act (from international investment funds to individuals looking for a new country to call home). He works through the Overseas Investment Office consent process with clients from initial discussions to application to successfully obtaining consent.
Geoff started his career in one of the leading competition law teams in the country, including advising a large local fishing company in relation to its successful application for clearance under New Zealand’s anti-trust regime for its acquisition of surplus quota and its successful application for consent to the Ministry of Fisheries in respect of the same.
Geoff has continued to work in this complex area. His focus is now primarily on advising businesses as to their compliance obligations under the Commerce Act, and in particular the new cartel provisions.