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John Ridgway

principal lawyer, commercial | pln

meet John

about John

sydney office +61 2 8298 9580
pa: rosie cheng +61 2 8298 9590

about John

When clients need insight into doing business internationally, they call John Ridgway. His expertise is in highly regulated industries such as financial services, telecommunications and aviation, as well as M&A, foreign direct investment activities and dealing with governments.  His unique geographical expertise and international focus has seen him buy, sell, merge, restructure or finance virtually every type and size of business.

His clients range from high net worth individuals to multinational corporations. He advises on inbound investment to Australia, outbound Australian investment and other overseas domiciled businesses investing in the Asia Pacific region.

John specialises in cross-border and international business transactions. He’s particularly adept at managing and growing relationships in the Pacific, across the US, and throughout Europe and Asia. John’s extensive international experience makes him a first port of call to lead cross-border transactions.

In November 2000, John created the Pacific Legal Network (PLN) after living and working in the Pacific for a large part of the 1990s.  John has grown that business across Australia and into Asia. John is also a former Global Chairman of the international legal and tax network IAG Global.

Areas of Expertise

  • Cross-border transactions
  • International business transactions
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Foreign direct investment
  • Government dealings



  • Finalist, NSW Premiers Export Awards, 2017
  • Winner, NSW Premiers Export Awards (International development), 2016
  • Winner, NSW Premiers Export Awards (SME export services category), 2013

leadership positions

  • Former Global Chairman, international legal and tax network, IAG Global
  • Head of Legal Services, Pacific Legal Network

recent experience

  • hydro power – climate change funding project

    John was brought in late to a matter needing urgent due diligence for a consortium of project sponsors and financiers for a US$400 million hydro power project in Solomon Islands. He mobilised the team  and carried out ‘on the ground’ due diligence in conjunction with our network partner in Solomon Islands. This enabled the delivery of a due diligence report and closing opinions to establish the local project company and facilitate the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars to change the source of power in that country from climate unfriendly diesel to climate friendly hydro.

  • fibre cable project

    John acted for the financing consortium to a project delivering the first fibre cable to Vanuatu in the Pacific, joining that country via cable with Fiji. The project included due diligence in both countries and preparation and negotiation of financing and project documents, closing opinions and facilitating drawdowns as the project progressed. On completion, the cable delivered much cheaper and more timely access to data to a country that had otherwise been beholden to access via satellite.

  • united airlines merger

    John acted for United Airlines in the Australian component of its global merger with Continental Airlines. The project included the creation of a new operating entity in Australia and the migration of the Australian operations of both airlines into that entity (occurring at one designated point in time when both airlines’ aircraft around the globe were grounded), together with the negotiation of all regulatory approvals from the various aviation regulators/authorities across Australia.

  • bank acquisition

    John has acted on various acquisitions of key equity positions in financial institutions in Australia and elsewhere, including the purchase by one of Australia’s largest banks of the operations of another bank in six jurisdictions in the Pacific. John acted as the lead legal team for the transaction, including the carrying out of multi-jurisdictional due diligence, preparation and negotiation of transaction documents, obtaining all regulatory and other approvals in all operating locations and facilitating the closing of the transaction.