Carnelutti and Bredin Prat handle Danone brand sale
Italian law firm Carnelutti and French firm Bredin Prat have advised Danone on its sale of Italian food brand Galbani to private equity group BC Partners. The French dairy products company agreed to sell its Galbani food unit to the UK buyout firm for g1.02bn (£626.7m). The deal is both the third-largest private equity backed transaction in Italy and the largest leveraged buyout in the food sector to date. Galbani's revenue rose 2 per cent last year to g1.1bn (£675.9m) compared with a 6.8 per cent gain for Danone's total dairy sales. BC Partners, advised by Sergio Erede at Italian firm Erede, financed between 10 and 15 per cent of the overall price of Danone. The rest, which is believed to be about g600m (£368.7m), was raised from JP Morgan Chase. JP Morgan was advised by Allen & Overy with Tony Humphrey leading the deal out of the London office. Following the recent slump in debtor confidence, it is significant that BC Partners approached at least two other banks which were understood to be keen to finance the deal.
"I expect the sale of the share and payment to take place by the end of the year" Marino Bastianini, Carnelutti
At the end of last year, advisers to private equity funds said acquisitions worth more than j150m (£92.2m) backed with private equity may find it difficult to raise sufficient finance. BC Partners was advised by BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank. Danone was advised by Lazard. There were also a number of interested bidders. Italian food maker Parmalat, which has backing from UK private equity firm Doughty Hanson, also expressed an interest in buying Galbani. The structure of the deal was slightly unusual. Galbani's assets were sold to a newly created company named Pont Neuf in return for shares. The new shares from that company will then be transferred to BC Partners. The transaction was regulated by Italian law. Carnelutti senior partner Marino Bastianini, who led the deal, said that incorporating the management into the deal means that Galbani can rely on continuity and can continue to concentrate on its core business. "I expect the sale of the share and payment to take place by the end of the year," he said. However, European antitrust regulators have to approve the transaction before it is completed.