Food

Willkie has extensive experience in the food industry. We represent general and specialty manufacturers, supermarkets and  restaurants, as well as investment banks, hedge funds and other investors in the areas of M&A, capital markets, finance, litigation, and business reorganization and restructuring.  Our clients include ARAMARK, Monsanto, Winn-Dixie, Yoplait and Landry’s.

Willkie has extensive experience in the food industry. We represent general and specialty manufacturers, supermarkets and  restaurants, as well as investment banks, hedge funds and other investors in the areas of M&A, capital markets, finance, litigation, and business reorganization and restructuring.  Our clients include ARAMARK, Monsanto, Winn-Dixie, Yoplait and Landry’s.

Finance

  • Logan’s Roadhouse: Advised on senior/mezzanine financing for the acquisition of Nashville, Tennessee-headquartered Logan’s Roadhouse, a chain of restaurants founded in 1991 offering BBQ and American fare.

    New York Life Insurance Company/Bongrain S.A.: Advised New York Life on its purchase, along with several of its affiliates, of $100 million of senior notes issued by Bongrain, the second largest cheese producer in France. The purchase was made under a master note facility which  also provided for Bongrain’s issuance and sale of up to an additional $25 million of senior notes.

    Yoplait/Liberté: Advised the second largest yogurt maker in the world on the financing structure for its €320 million acquisition of Canadian dairy producer Liberté.

    • Advised Yoplait and General Mills on the extension of this financing.
    • Represented Yoplait in a €300 million refinancing.
- Collapse

Business Reorganization and Restructuring

  • Arctic Glacier: Represented the Canadian court-appointed monitor and authorized foreign representative of ice manufacturer Arctic Glacier in chapter 15 proceedings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Arctic Glacier’s sale process, which was co-led by Willkie, resulted in a bid that exceeded the claims of all known creditors.

    Buffets, Inc.: Represented an ad hoc committee of senior prepetition lenders and postpetition lenders led by Twin Haven Capital Partners and Credit Suisse in the chapter 11 restructuring of Buffet’s, the nation’s largest steak-buffet restaurant company. Willkie negotiated the key terms of the plan that provided the equity of the reorganized company to the senior lenders.

    Burger King Corporation: Represented the corporation in the chapter 11 cases of certain of its franchises.

    Hostess Brands Inc.: Represented the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in connection with the chapter 11 cases of Hostess Brands Inc., the iconic baker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread.

    Planet Hollywood: Counseled unofficial committees or groups of bondholders or other creditors in the chapter 11 case of theme restaurant Planet Hollywood.

    QCE LLC (Quiznos): Represented first lien lenders, including Oaktree Capital Management and Caspian Capital, in an out-of-court restructuring of QCE LLC, the Quizno’s sandwich chain.

    Shoney's, Inc.: Advised on the restructuring and workout financing involving Shoney's, a casual dining "comfort food" restaurant chain with hundreds of locations in 18 states.

    U.S. Supermarkets/Nutritional Sourcing Company: Represented Wilmington Trust Co. as indenture trustee for senior secured bondholders and a creditors committee member in the chapter 11 cases of supermarket chain Nutritional Sourcing Corporation.

- Collapse

Capital Markets

  • Bonduelle: Advised Bonduelle, the world’s leading producer of frozen and processed vegetables, in several offerings and placements, including:

    • Advised on an inaugural bond issue on the European private placement market.
    • Advised on a €300 million revolving credit facility over 5 years, redeemable at maturity date. 

    New York Restaurant Corporation: Represented Deutsche Bank in the private placement of $21 million of New York Restaurant Corp. convertible preferred stock.

    Roquette Frères: Advised Roquette Frères on its private placement of $175 million of senior notes.

    Shake Shack, Inc.: Represented Select Equity Group, L.P., a major shareholder in Shake Shack, in connection with Shake Shack’s initial public offering and follow-on offering.

- Collapse

Corporate Matters

  • Bass plc: Provided corporate representation on executive compensation and employee benefits-related issues for Bass, an international group operating in four main areas: hotels and resorts; pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues; brewing; and soft drinks.

    Michel Troisgros: Served as counsel to Michel Troisgros, the three Michelin star chef, in his partnership with Samsung Electronics to develop Samsung home appliances.

- Collapse

Litigation and Investigation

  • Bank of Nova Scotia v. Safeway: Advised on the arbitration in Denver before the AAA on a contract dispute over alleged breach of a beef supply agreement.

    Lancer Corporation: Participated in an investigation into potential accounting issues involving Lancer, the leading manufacturer and marketer of beverage dispensing systems.

- Collapse

Mergers & Acquisitions, PE & VC Investments, Joint Ventures and Other Business Combinations

  • Bregal Freshstream/Lunch Garden: Represented London-based private equity fund Bregal Freshstream in its acquisition of Belgian self-service restaurant chain Lunch Garden from a consortium of investors led by H2 Equity Partners.

    Elior/Ansamble: Represented Elior, Europe’s third-largest provider of contracted food services, on its acquisition of Vannes, France-based catering company Ansamble.

    Elior/TrustHouse: Represented Elior in its acquisition of U.S.-based TrustHouse Services Group.

    G.E.T. Enterprises/Olympus Partners: Represented the management team of G.E.T. Enterprises in connection with G.E.T.’s acquisition by Olympus Partners.

    H.J. Heinz/Berkshire Hathaway/3G Capital: Represented BofA Merrill Lynch, financial advisors to H.J. Heinz Company, in the $28 billion acquisition of the iconic maker of ketchup and other food products by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital.

    IK Investment Partners: Advised European private equity firm IK Investment on its acquisitions of or investments in the following companies:

    • Cérélia Group: Advised IK in the acquisition of Cérélia Group, a leading European manufacturer of ready-to-bake chilled dough products.
    • Savena: Advised IK on its acquisition of Savena, the French food ingredient manufacturer from Azulis Capital and Céréa Capital.
    • Sfinc NV: Advised IK and its portfolio company Savena, a French food-ingredient manufacturer, on Savena’s acquisition of Belgian rival Sfinc for an enterprise value of approximately €100 million.
    • Solina Group: Advised IK Investment Partners in negotiations to sell leading European food solutions provider Solina Group to Ardian Mid Cap Buyout.

    Insight Venture Partners: Represented Insight Venture Partners on its investment in HelloFresh, the Berlin and New York City-based meal-kit delivery service.

    Latour Capital/Syclef: Represented Latour Capital in the acquisition, through its fund Latour Capital II, of a majority stake in Syclef, a major French player in the installation and maintenance of commercial and agri-food refrigeration systems.

    PAI partners: Advised private equity firm PAI partners in multiple food and beverage industry transactions, including:
    • Labeyrie: Represented PAI in its acquisition of a stake in Labeyrie Fine Foods, a French gourmet food producer.
    • Yoplait/General Mills: Advised PAI on the sale of its 50 percent stake in Yoplait to U.S.-based food company General Mills, one of the world’s largest food companies. The transaction was valued at $1.1 billion.

    The Pantry, Inc./Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.: Represented The Pantry, Inc., operator of more than 1,500 convenience stores in the southeastern United States, in an agreement to be acquired by Canadian convenience store leader Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.7 billion, including debt assumed.

    Roquette: Representing Roquette in a private placement of unsecured senior notes in the United States with an aggregate deal value of $175 million.

    Safeway/Albertsons: Represented Colony Financial, Inc. as one of the equity investors in the $9 billion acquisition of Safeway, Inc. by AB Acquisition LLC, a merger of two of the country’s largest grocery store chains.

    Scotsman/ALI Group/Warburg Pincus: Represented Scotsman Industries, the world’s largest commercial ice machine company, in its acquisition by ALI Group, a Milan, Italy-based diversified food service equipment manufacturer, from an affiliate of Warburg Pincus.

    The Sterling Group/Liqui-Box: Represented The Sterling Group in its sale of Liqui-Box Corporation to funds managed by Olympus Partners.

- Collapse