A&O, Links aid Britvic move on French rival

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Linklaters have helped ­beverage company Britvic in its acquisition of a French rival, in a move that gives it a foothold in the substantial French soft drinks ­market.

Linklaters corporate partner Owen Clay advised long-standing client Britvic in its €237m (£202m) purchase of Fruité. He worked with managing associate Daniel Simons on a £100m share placing to fund the purchase, and with corporate partner Vincent Ponsonnaille in Paris, who led negotiations on the acquisition.

Clay said: “It was [Britvic’s] first break-out from the UK into Europe and was well received. It [the deal] was basically done in a month.”

A&O corporate finance partner Mark Dighero acted for banks Citibank and Nomura on the placing.

Fruité turned to a team including M&A partner Jean-Marie Ambrosi at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, and Gregoire Guignot at local firm Deprez Guignot et Associés.

The two magic circle firms were also involved in Britvic’s 2009 renegotiation of its £300m banking facility (The Lawyer, 20 April 2009), with Linklaters advising the company and A&O the banks.