Silvana Schenone

Partner - Corporate and Commercial

Silvana is a corporate and commercial law expert and head of our corporate practice. She is experienced in advising local and foreign clients on a range of corporate matters. With extensive expertise in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), private equity investments, takeovers, schemes of arrangement, capital raisings, and corporate governance matters, Silvana is renowned for her ability to get the most complex and innovative deals done in a pragmatic and effective way.

Skilled at getting to the heart of the matter and delivering excellent results for her clients, Silvana has been involved in some of New Zealand’s most iconic transactions, including numerous market “firsts”, setting precedents in New Zealand’s legal market.

Silvana is a board member of the New Zealand Takeovers Panel, evidence of her expertise and experience in the M&A and capital markets sectors locally and internationally.  She frequently liaises with regulatory authorities including the Financial Markets Authority, the New Zealand Stock Exchange, and the Overseas Investment Office.

Silvana has a remarkable international background, having practised law in New York, Chile, and New Zealand.  Due to her international experience, she is ideally positioned to assist clients with all aspects of the overseas investment process as it applies to the acquisition of businesses or significant assets in New Zealand.

Named New Zealand Dealmaker of the Year in 2021 in the Australasian Law Awards, the calibre of Silvana’s work is recognised in several leading legal directories.  She is described by a client as “a very smart lawyer and a strong communicator whose experience and technical skills mean she can quickly grasp complex issues and provide clear, easily digested, legal advice,” doing so “in a style that is more collaborative than prescriptive, allowing clients space to consider a wider perspective rather than narrowing down their options” – Chambers Asia-Pacific 2022.  Put simply by another client, Silvana is “excellent, personable and gets it done” – The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020.

Silvana is sought after as an international thought leader and is a regular media commentator on M&A, ECM, listed companies and takeovers.  She is the author of ‘Duties and Responsibilities of Directors and Company Secretaries in New Zealand’, a highly acclaimed text referred to by the directors’ community in New Zealand, lectures for the Institute of Directors on its Company Directors’ Course, and leads MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ Corporate Governance Symposium.

Silvana is also a diversity champion, both within the firm and the wider community.  She is a member of Global Women and a founding member of On Being Bold, an online collective for empowering women.  In recognition of her achievements at work and in society, Silvana was named as one of NZ Lawyer’s Elite Women 2021.

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Overview – A very big year

Professional background

Recent work

Proposed takeover of Infratil by AustralianSuper

Advising NZX/ASX listed company Infratil on the takeover offers received from AustralianSuper, to acquire 100% of the shares in Infratil by way of a scheme of arrangement for a consideration of approximately $5.4 billion. Infratil is a large group controlling significant infrastructure assets, including Wellington Airport, Trustpower, Tilt and Vodafone NZ. The advice successfully allowed directors to maximise value for shareholders.

Acquisition by Macquarie Group of AMP Capital Global Equity & Fixed Income Business

Advising Macquarie Group on the New Zealand aspects of its acquisition of AMP Capital’s Global Equities and Fixed Income business.  The transaction is expected to be complete in 1Q 2022.

Sale of LIC Automation

Advising NZX listed cooperative, Livestock Improvement Corporation, on the divestment of its automation business to MSD Animal Health, including several ancillary transitional and long-term agreements.

Acquisition of Asaleo Care by Essity

Advising leading global hygiene and health company, Essity, on the New Zealand aspects of its acquisition (via scheme of arrangement) of ASX listed Asaleo Care, valued at AUD788 million. Silvana led the team advising on the OIO approval process, given the significant business presence of the Asaleo Group in New Zealand.

Strategic review of Refining NZ (now Channel Infrastructure)

Lead adviser supporting Refining NZ (now Channel Infrastructure) with its strategic overhaul project, aiming at simplifying and restructuring the whole business, and which has required engagement with essentially all of Refining NZ’s stakeholders, being its shareholders, employees, local and central government, stock exchange, banks, customers, regulators, suppliers, and others.

Complex sale of superannuation business

Advising Aon on the sale of its superannuation business in New Zealand (comprising its KiwiSaver scheme and Master Trust businesses) to Fisher Funds.  We provided continued advice and support to Aon throughout this complex transaction comprising the sale of certain business assets as well as shares in two of Aon’s group companies.  It resulted in over 21,000 Aon KiwiSaver and Master Trust members (and approximately $1 billion of funds under management) transferring to Fisher Funds.

Acquisition of Fonterra’s Tip Top ice-cream business by Froneri

Advising Froneri throughout due diligence, competitive bidding process and negotiations to successfully acquire Fonterra’s $385 million Tip Top ice cream business.

Zespri capital restructure and buy back

Advising Zespri on its capital restructure and buy-back with a value of up to $1 billion.  Zespri is a world leading horticultural company, and the targeted share issue and buy-back had the ambitious goal of strengthening grower ownership and control of Zespri.


  • 2007, New Zealand
  • 2001, Chile


  • LLM, Harvard University
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Hons First Class) Facultad de Derecho


  • Independent Director, Skycity Entertainment Group Limited
  • Board Member, Takeovers Panel
  • Member, Global Women
  • Director and Founding Member, On Being Bold


  • Capital Markets
  • Corporate Governance
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Overseas Investment
  • Private Equity
  • Takeovers


  • New Zealand Dealmaker of the Year, Australasian Law Awards 2021
  • Excellence award – New Zealand Dealmaker of the Year, Australasian Law Awards 2020 and 2022
  • Named as an IFLR1000 Women Leader for 2022, the elite cohort of leading female transactional experts
  • Named in the NZ Herald’s Power list of New Zealand’s top Corporate Lawyers 2022 (the only woman listed of the eight most influential figures in corporate law)
  • Recognised for M&A and Governance, Who's Who Legal: Australia and New Zealand 2022
  • Recognised in NZ Lawyer's Elite Women list, 2021
  • Ranked Band 1 for Corporate/Commercial, Chambers Global
  • Ranked Band 1 for Corporate/Commercial, Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2020-2022
  • Ranked as Highly Regarded - Private Equity and M&A, The IFLR1000
  • Ranked as a Leading Individual – Corporate and M&A, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2018-2022
  • Recognised for Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law and Private Equity Law, Best Lawyers
  • Highly commended – New Zealand Dealmaker of the Year, Australasian Law Awards 2017
  • Partner in MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ internationally recognised Tier 1 (The Legal 500 Asia Pacific) and Band 1 (Chambers Asia-Pacific) Corporate team