April 5, 2017

Paris office represents French food company Cerelia in its acquisition of Canada-based cookie producer English Bay Batter, and its related leveraged refinancing.

It was recently announced that Willkie client Cerelia (backed by IK Investment Partners), leading French producer of rolled dough and pancakes in Europe, has acquired North American cookie specialist English Bay Batter. The merger creates an international group offering an expanded range of products through three different distribution channels: retail, in-store bakery and food-service. The acquisition is consistent with Cerelia’s growth strategy and will further its development in the U.S. and Canada. EBB’s expertise in its market will also enable Cerelia to broaden its product offering in Europe and Asia.

Founded in 1983 in Vancouver, EBB has developed a unique know-how producing cookies, muffins, brownies and other pastries. The company’s products are widely distributed in the U.S. and Canada through retail and food-service channels. Cerelia is the European leader in the production of ready-made doughs and pancakes, with pro forma sales (including EBB) expected to top €400 million in 2017. IK Investment Partners is a pan-European private equity firm investing across Northern Europe, the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), France and Benelux.

The acquisition was financed entirely with the proceeds of a new issuance of senior secured facility line in the context of a leveraged refinancing of the Cerelia group’s debt arranged by Bank of Ireland, BNP Paribas, Crédit Mutuel CIC, Crédit Agricole CIB, ING, Natixis and Société Générale, which resulted in significant improvements to the group’s debt financing documentation.

Willkie represented IK Investment Partners in its 2015 acquisition of Cerelia and Cerelia in its bolt-on acquisition of Dutch pancakes manufacturer Bioderij.

The EBB acquisition was handled by partner Eduardo Fernandez and associates Elise Carrera and Liza Scemama, as well as Canadian counsel, Stikeman Elliott. The refinancing was handled by a team lead by Eduardo Fernandez, which included partner Paul Lombard, special European counsel Stanislas Curien and associate Mathilde de Wiljes (financing), special European counsel Philippe Grudé (tax) and corporate associates Elise Carrera, Liza Scemama and Marie Aubard.