PE firm buys chocolatier’s Asia-Pacific assets with Baker McKenzie’s help

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Baker McKenzie is helping sell a large chunk of a chocolatier in the Asia-Pacific region.

The global firm is the exclusive legal counsel of GODIVA Chocolatier and its parent company, Turkey’s Yildiz Holdings, which are selling the GODIVA retail and distribution operations in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea, as well as the GODIVA production facility in Brussels, to South Korea’s MBK Partners.

Expected to close in the middle of the year and subject to closing conditions, the deal is reported to be worth between US$1bn and US$1.5bn.

Baker McKenzie’s deal team is led by Jeremy White, one of the firm’s corporate and M&A partners in Tokyo. From the same office, he was supported by partner Kensaku Takase, counsel Beelian Tay, senior foreign associates Byron Frost and Daniel Burkhart, senior associates Masao Katsuyama and Mami Ohara, foreign associate Ayako Nakano, and lawyer Daniel Relton.

The firm also tapped experts from its Brussels office to assist in the deal. Working from the Belgian capital are partners Dominique Maes, Francois Gabriel, and Jean-Francois Vandenberghe.

In London, partners David Scott and Jannan Crozier are supporting the team, while partner Jur Strobos in Washington, D.C., and partner Tracy Wut in Hong Kong are also working on the deal.

Baker McKenzie said that it has lead responsibility in advising the clients on the sale structure, legal and regulatory issues, communication with the regulators, and general transaction management.

Within the last six months, the firm also acted in another high-profile acquisition in the confectionary market. A team headed by White counselled Fuji Oil in its US$750m acquisition of Blommer Chocolate.