Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance lead on Suntory £1.35bn Ribena, Lucozade deal

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Clifford Chance have taken the lead roles on GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) £1.35bn sale of drinks brands Ribena and Lucozade to Japanese consumer goods company Suntory Beverage and Food Ltd (SBF).

SBF has bought global rights to the drinks brands apart form in Nigeria, where both will still be manufactured and sold under GSK Nigeria.

A&O fielded corporate partners and Ed Barnett and Andrew Bellheimer and associates Matthew Appleton and Nigel Parker for the instruction after winning a successful pitch.

Barnett and Bellheimer are GSK relationship managers for GSK, who do not have a panel but use a list of preferred firms. Barnett said the firm was one of the company’s preferred corporate advisers.

The firm has not always taken the lead roles on GSK deals however – in 2012, the firm advised Omega instead of GSK in its divestment of a portfolio of European health products, with a seven-partner team from Slaughter and May taking the lead for GSK.

Clifford Chance won the instruction for SBF, with a team headed by corporate finance partners Joel Ziff and Robert Crothers and senior associates Gareth Camp, Katherine Moir and lawyer Lucy Hall.

Ziff declined to comment on the firm’s relationship to SBF but said the appointment was related to the firm’s previous work with the company.

Clifford Chance advised Suntory in 2009 in its €2.6bn acquisition of French soft-drink company Orangina Schweppes Group from high-profile private equity funds Lion Capital Holidings and the Blackstone Group.