Louise Watson

Transactions where Louise has been principal communications adviser include Origin Energy’s defence of the $14 billion BG plc hostile takeover offer; Origin’s joint venture with ConocoPhillips and its merger of equals discussions with AGL in 2007. In recent years, Louise has been adviser to Aurizon (formerly QR National) in relation to its IPO and post-listing; BT Investment Management on its acquisition of JO Hambro; IOOF on its proposed acquisition of The Trust Company and Macquarie Airports Limited on its Scheme of Arrangement proposal to internalise management.

Louise established Symbol in 2002 to create a focused environment for the provision of high-level corporate and financial communications advice and communications services.

Prior to establishing Symbol, Louise was Chairman of Corporate and Finance for Edelman Public Relations in Australia, having formed the Corporate and Finance Division of The Rowland Company in Sydney (now Edelman Public Relations) in 1989.

Louise has been retained as a trusted communications adviser to a broad range of companies and their Boards, Chairmen, CEOs and senior executives.  Louise specialises in corporate reputation management, M&A transactions and IPOs.

Companies Louise has advised on corporate reputation management include the Commonwealth Bank, Origin Energy, Aurizon, BT Investment Management, Leighton Holdings, Stockland, Qantas, Perpetual, Coates Hire, Foodland Associated and BankWest.

Previously, Louise also advised BankWest on the acquisition of minority interests by HBOS plc and the demerger and sale of Foodland Associated.

Louise developed the blue- print for communications in relation to privatisations and large-scale IPOs when she was adviser on Australia’s first privatisation, the Commonwealth Bank’s IPO in 1991. She also was adviser to the Bank’s secondary public share offer in 1993, the Woolworths float in 1993, the Qantas IPO in 1995 and the NSW TAB IPO in 1998. Other major transactions Louise has advised on, while leading The Rowland Company’s corporate and finance division, include:

  • St. George’s conversion to a bank and subsequent takeover of Advance Bank
  • AMP’s proposal to demutualise
  • AMP’s mob-up bid for GIO minority shareholders
  • Coles Myer Ltd’s Kmart Corporation share buy-back
  • KPN’s acquisition of TNT Limited
  • ICI plc’s share offer for ICI Australia
  • The Coca-Cola Company’s acquisition of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc
  • Downer Group’s takeover of EDI

Louise is a board member of CARE Australia. Previously, Louise was an Advisory Board member of Grant Samuel and Associates for seven years; a non-executive director of the Odyssey House McGrath Foundation charity for nine years as well as a committee member of the Prime Minister’s Supermarket to Asia Council Communications Working Group.