Weil Gotshal scoops Lion, Blackstone role on Cadbury deal

Weil Gotshal & Manges has completed its first successful mandate for Lion Capital and Blackstone Group on their £1.27bn purchase of Cadbury Schweppes’ European drinks business.

Blackstone Group and Lion Capital outbid a string of other private equity firms to buy the European beverages unit, which includes brands such as Schweppes, Orangina and Oasis.

The purchase price for the unit was significantly higher than original estimates that valued the business between £690-£750m. The eventual £1.27bn price tag values the unit at 9.5 times its Ebitda of £133.7m.

The deal is the first successful bid that Weil Gotshal has acted on for the private equity houses. Earlier this year the firm acted for Lion Capital and Blackstone in their failed bid for Allied Domecq which was eventually sold to Pernod Ricard.

It also the biggest deal Lion Capital has been involved in its since its split from Hicks Muse Tate & Furst in 2004.

Mike Francies led the Weil Gotshal team, which included corporate partner Will Rosen and tax specialist Sarah Priestley.

Cadbury Schweppes instructed regular counsel Slaughter and May led by corporate partner Tim Boxell. Slaughters worked with French firm Barbé Carpentier Thibault Groener, Germans Hengeler Mueller, Spanish firm Perez-Llorca, Nauta Dutilh of the Netherlands and Portuguese firm PLMJ.

Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan are providing the debt for the acquisition advised by Jacqueline Evans of Allen & Overy.