Firm advises on $1.9 billion foreign acquisition

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The acquisition of an iconic Australian food company by a Hong Kong based investment and holding company was implemented earlier this week.

The Goodman Fielder acquisition by joint Hong Kong based entities, Wilmar and First Pacific made by way of a scheme arrangement came to effect on 3 March 2015 and was implemented this week.

Herbert Smith Freehills acted on behalf of Goodman Fielder, the advisory team headed up by partner Tony Damian, who said transaction was a lengthy one due to the required clearance from the Chinese competition regulator. 

The regulatory approval process, which in this case was signed back in July 2014 but not completed until March 2015, Damian said is becoming increasingly common in Australian M&A deals with global features.

He said the deal is an indicator of the increasingly international nature of the Australian M&A market.

“The Goodman Fielder deal involved an iconic Australian company getting access to foreign capital and markets through its acquisition by First Pacific and Wilmar. It demonstrates just how global Australian M&A has become,” said Damian.

He speculated that the Australian food sector may see more foreign investment over the next 12 months.

“Consumer goods and food will remain an active sector in 2015. Global demand is strong, particularly from Asia,” he added.
Wilmar and First Pacific were advised by a team at Gilbert + Tobin, led by partner Peter Cook.

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