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

  • Bonduelle: Represented Bonduelle in its private placements of €150 million and $50 million of senior notes in connection with its acquisition of Ready Pac Foods.

    Eurazeo: Advised Eurazeo, a leading European investment company, in the acquisition finance aspects of its €405 million acquisition of Iberchem, a global producer of fragrances and flavors.

    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.

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Business Reorganization and Restructuring

  • 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.

    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.

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Capital Markets

  • Delivery Hero: Represented Insight Venture Partners in connection with Delivery Hero AG’s $1.1 billion IPO.

    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.

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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.

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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.

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

  • Allied Beverage Group/Breakthru Beverage Group New Jersey: Represented Allied Beverage Group in its merger with Breakthru Beverage Group New Jersey, creating an integrated company under the Allied Beverage Group name that will continue to be New Jersey’s leading wholesale liquor distributor.

    Bonduelle/Ready Pac Foods: Represented Bonduelle in its agreement to acquire Ready Pac Foods.

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

    Cérélia Group/English Bay Batter:  Represented Cérélia (backed by IK Investment Partners), leading French producer of rolled dough and pancakes in Europe, in its acquisition of North American cookie specialist English Bay Batter, and its related leveraged refinancing.

    Constantia Flexibles/Multi-Color Corporation: Represented Constantia Flexibles in the sale of its Labels division to Multi-Color Corporation for an enterprise value of approximately $1.3 billion.

    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.

    HK Food GmbH/Nordsee Holding: Represented HK Food GmbH in its agreement to sell German seafood brand Nordsee Holding GmbH to Kharis Capital via KC North Sea, an investment vehicle managed by Kharis.

    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.
    • Mademoiselle Desserts: Advised IK in the contemplated acquisition of Mademoiselle Desserts, a French leader in the frozen bakery industry.
    • 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/Delivery Hero: Represented Insight Venture Partners as lead investor in the $88 million investment in Berlin-based Delivery Hero, an online takeout services company with operations across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

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

    Keg Logistics/Keg Credit: Represented Keg Logistics LLC on its acquisition of Keg Credit, LLC, which combines two of the leading keg providers in the U.S. craft brewing industry.

    Lagardère Travel Retail/Hojeij Branded Foods (HBF): Represented French airport shop operator Lagardère Travel Retail in its $330 million acquisition of HBF, a leading foodservice travel retailer in North America, creating the third largest player in the North American travel retail and foodservice Industry.  

    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.

    Minor International/Corbin & King: Represented Minor International pcl, a global hotel and restaurant group based in Thailand, in its acquisition of the Corbin & King group of high-end London restaurants (including The Wolseley and The Delaunay) and The Beaumont Hotel.  

    PAI Partners/Labeyrie: Advised PAI Partners in its acquisition of a stake in Labeyrie Fine Foods, a French gourmet food producer.

    PAI Partners/Refresco: Represented PAI Partners in its €1.6 billion investment (alongside British Columbia Investment Management Corp.) in Refresco, the Dutch-listed leading independent bottler of soft drinks and fruit juices.

    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.

    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.

    Seaport Capital/Keg Logistics: Represented Seaport Capital in its acquisition of Keg Logistics LLC, a leading outsourced keg and beverage container management provider.  

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

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