Leading firms act on $1.5bn bid for Australian food company

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Dealmakers from two leading law firms have acted on China Mengniu’s offer to acquire Bellamy’s Australia.

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) is advising China Mengniu on its $1.5bn offer to buy Bellamy’s, which is advised by Allens.

Hong Kong-listed China Mengniu is one of China’s largest makers of dairy products. Bellamy’s is an Australian company that makes organic food and organic infant formula.

NRF said that the two companies’ products and channel mix are highly complementary. Mengniu is uniquely placed to boost Bellamy’s in both Australia and China, it said.

Under the proposed scheme of arrangement, Bellamy’s shareholders will receive $13.25 in cash per share, which includes a special dividend of $0.60 per share, putting a premium of 54% on Bellamy’s three-month volume-weighted average price to 13 September.

NRF and Allens said that the deal is expected to close before the end of 2019, subject to several conditions that include approval by Bellamy’s shareholders, the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and the Foreign Investment Review Board.

The NRF team is led by Sydney-based corporate M&A partner John Elliott, who was supported by associate Dean Zinn. In Sydney, Elliott was supported by antitrust and competition partner Belinda Harvey.  Senior associate Dietrich Marquardt provided specialist advice on regulatory matters.

The firm’s Hong Kong team is headed by corporate and M&A partner Psyche Tai. She is supported by counsel Rachel Chan and associate Jane Yau, who work on Hong Kong regulatory aspects of the deal. Partner Peter Haslam advises on acquisition finance, with support from counsel Vivian Lui and associate Vivian Wong. 

The Allens team is headed by partners Guy Alexander and Tom Story. They are supported by senior associate Hannah Biggins.

Elliott said that the deal marks an important development for the Australian dairy market.