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Slaughter and May is the only UK law firm to have scooped a role advising UK confectioner Cadbury Schweppes on its purchase of Pernod Ricard's soft drinks businesses. Slaughters partner William Sibree is advising the company on the competition issues surrounding its euro700m (£437.5m) acquisition of the soft drinks businesses in Continental Europe, the US and Australia. Businesses which are part of the deal include the Orangina, Pampryl, Champomy and Yoo-Hoo brands. Sibree has worked for Cadbury for almost 15 years advising on competition law matters, and represented it on the Phase II 'serious doubts' investigation of its disposal of Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages. He also worked for Cadbury in relation to the sale of its non-US beverages business to the Coca-Cola Company.
"As this is essentially a French deal, Cadbury went to the people it regularly uses in Paris" William Sibree, Slaughters
As this deal was essentially a French deal for the UK client, Cadbury called on its usual French adviser for help - Barbé Carpentier Thibault Groener partner Marc Barbé. On the US side the company called in its usual US adviser Morgan Lewis & Bockius partner Steven Navarro in New York. Sibree said: "I have acted for Cadbury for the past 10 or 15 years, and as this is essentially a French deal, it went to the people it regularly uses in Paris. It uses them on what are essentially French deals - they have done a number of restructurings in France and I think they are particularly good on things which are tricky from an employment angle." Press reports suggested that Cadbury had clinched the deal because it agreed to refrain from layoffs until the end of next year to win employee support. On the state of play with the competition authorities, Sibree said he expected to be filing very shortly, but he refused to comment on what issues he thought the company would face. Pernod Ricard has called on its US law advisers to deal with antitrust issues. The company is working with Gide Loyrette Nouel in France and Jones Day Reavis & Pogue in New York for M&A advice. In the Washington DC office of Jones Day partners Phillip Proger and Tom Smith are dealing with regulators.