Paul Weiss, Linklaters act on abandoned Kraft Heinz-Unilever mega-merger

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Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Linklaters were the lead advisors of the failed takeover bid by Kraft Heinz Foods for Unilever.

The US$143bn deal, which would have created the world’s second-largest consumer goods company by sales behind only Nestlé, was abandoned just two days after Kraft Heinz confirmed its interest. Kraft Heinz was supported in the deal by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

According to Legal Business, the team at Paul Weiss was led by Scott Barshay, the heavyweight who transferred from White Shoe firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore last year. Barshay advised Heinz when it acquired Kraft last year in a US$40bn deal.

Meanwhile, Linklaters’ team was led by global corporate head Aedamar Comiskey, global consumer co-head Paul McNicholl and corporate partner Nick Rumsby, according to Legal Week. The publication also said that Linklaters edged out Slaughter & May, which has traditionally been Unilever’s go-to adviser in monumental transactions.

Kraft Heinz said it had “made a comprehensive proposal” for “long-term growth and sustainable living” but Unilever said the deal “fundamentally undervalues” the company and that it saw “no merit, either financial or strategic” for its shareholders. The two amicably ended the merger talks.

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