Rio Tinto calls on Sullivan to offload Alcan business

Baker & McKenzie and Sullivan & Cromwell have won lead roles on Rio Tinto’s $1.2bn (£740m) sale of its US packaging business.

Bakers is advising the buyer, US packaging ­company Bemis, on the cash and shares bid for Alcan Packaging Food Americas.

Rio Tinto acquired the packaging business following its £16.75bn takeover of Alcan in 2007, a deal that created a debt mountain that Rio Tinto is still ­struggling to pay off.

Sullivan & Cromwell acted as Rio Tinto’s US antitrust counsel on the original Alcan deal, with Linklaters leading, but has now won a role as lead ­counsel for the sale.

London-based M&A partner Tim Emmerson is leading the team acting for Rio Tinto.

The Bakers team acting for Bemis is being led by Chicago-based corporate partner Dieter Schmitz, alongside corporate partners Stephen Griesemer in Chicago, Jane Hobson in London, Andres Ochoa-Bunsow in Monterrey, Alberto Mori in Sao Paulo and Nurhan Aycan in Toronto.

John MacDonald in Chicago advised on tax issues and David Clanton in Washington advised on antitrust.

As part of the deal, Bemis will acquire 23 Alcan ­packaging facilities across the Americas and in New Zealand.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close at the end of 2009.