Wragge & Co advises Premier Foods on £182 million food deal
Wragge & Co's Food and Drink sector team has advised Premier Foods, the UK's largest food producer, on the £182 million sale of its Canned Grocery Operations to Princes Limited. The deal is Wragge & Co's first corporate instruction from Premier.
The deal sees Princes take ownership of Premier's Canned Grocery Operations, which employs 1,600 people. It includes the sale of a number of famous brands such as Crosse & Blackwell, Fray Bentos, Farrows and Smedleys. The sale is conditional upon receiving consent from Premier Foods' lending banks, its shareholders and also merger control clearance from the European Commission.
Corporate partner Richard Haywood led the transaction working with director Gareth Baker, associate Mohammed Majid and solicitor Sophie O'Connor.
Richard Haywood said: "Wragge & Co has acted for Premier on a range of matters in the last year. It is a great client to work with and an impressive organisation. In supporting Premier in this latest deal we drew on our extensive food sector experience and M&A expertise."
The cross-firm team also provided specialist intellectual property and employment advice. Partner David Lowe led on commercial advice and the drafting of contracts. Antitrust advice was provided by partner Bernardine Adkins. Property expertise was provided by associate Victoria Perry. Partner Lee McBride advised on environmental matters and partner Andrew Litchfield on health and safety.
The Wragge & Co team worked closely with Premier's head of legal, Suzanne Wise, senior legal counsel, Roy Uriely, and director of investor relations and M&A, Gwyn Tyley.
Premier Foods is the UK's largest food producer. Owner of major brands such as Hovis bread, Mr Kipling cakes, Sharwood's Asian foods and Branston Pickle, sales of its brands total £1,678 million and annual group turnover is more than £2,661 million. The company is also involved in manufacturing products for the food service industry, supplying ingredients to other food producers and own-label products to major UK food retailers. Wragge & Co was appointed to Premier's full-service legal panel last year.
Food and drink group Princes is owned by the Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) - Japan's largest general trading company with more than 200 sites in approximately 80 countries worldwide. A major supplier to the UK and continental European grocery markets, Princes has an annual turnover of £1 billion and 3,300 employees worldwide. It was advised by a Clifford Chance team led by corporate partner Jonathan Beastall.
Wragge & Co's 70-lawyer Corporate group specialises in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, IPOs, joint ventures, public takeovers, share schemes, complex corporate structuring, funds and tax. It has worked with clients of all types and industries and offers extensive expertise in the food and drink sector. Wragge & Co's food sector clients include HJ Heinz, Cadbury plc and Birds Eye Iglo Group Limited.
Other corporate highlights include advising KBC group on the sale of its asset-based lending division, KBC Business Capital, to NYSE-listed PNC Financial Service Group. The team also acted for Bioline group on its US $23.3 million (£15.2 million) cross-border acquisition by NASDAQ-listed Meridian Bioscience Inc.
For further information about this press release, contact Kathryn Hobbs on +44 (0)121 685 2785, Rebecca Davies on +44 (0)121 685 3819, Gayle Biddle on +44 (0)121 685 2708 or Amy Richards on +44 (0)121 260 9973
This press release may contain information of general interest about current legal issues, but does not give legal advice.