Top firms act as food behemoth takes in Australasian biz

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Four top firms are acting in The Kraft Heinz Company’s acquisition of Suntory Beverage & Food’s Cerebos Pacific business in Australia and New Zealand.

MinterEllison is advising Kraft Heinz, which has entered into an agreement with Suntory, which was advised by Clayton Utz. MinterEllisonRuddWatts is the New Zealand legal counsel of Kraft Heinz, while Simpson Grierson is Suntory's adviser in New Zealand.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed firm is selling Cerebos and its Asian Home Gourmet business in Singapore for $323m. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to customary conditions including regulatory approvals.

Suntory will retain its fresh coffee business in Australia and New Zealand, integrating it into a new Suntory Coffee business unit to target the rapidly growing global fresh coffee market. The deal will see iconic brands like Gravox, SAXA, Fountain, and Foster Clark’s go to Kraft Heinz.

The MinterEllison team is led by partner Ben Liu and senior associate Kate Koidl. Partners Elissa Romanin, Geoff Carter, and David Moore, as well as senior associate Mellissa Lai are also acting in the deal.

The MinterEllisonRuddWatts corporate team is led by partner Neil Millar, while the firm’s regulatory team is led by partner Ross Patterson.

The Clayton Utz team is led by partner Geoff Hoffman. It included lawyers Jack Steiner, Matt Bourke, and Hannah Kimber. Competition law advice was provided by partner Bruce Lloyd and consultant Ian Reynolds.

At Simpson Grierson, partner Andrew Matthews is leading the corporate aspects of the transaction, while partner James Craig is leading on the competition advice.

Kraft Heinz was involved earlier this year in talks with Unilever. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Linklaters acted in the scuttled mega-merger, which would have been worth a massive US$143bn.

Updated to include Simpson Grierson's role in the deal.

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