Heinz picks CC to advise on HP Foods acquisition

Clifford Chance has consolidated its relationship with Heinz after advising the food group on its biggest acquisition to date.

As first reported on www.thelawyer.com (21 June), the firm acted for Heinz on its successful acquisition of HP Foods.

According to reports, Heinz beat off competition from Premier Foods and Associated British Foods to secure the iconic sauces business from French group Danone for £470m in cash.

Although Clifford Chance has a longstanding relationship with Heinz, the group has not been involved in much M&A activity recently. Last year it retained Eversheds as its sole legal adviser for day-to-day legal matters.

It is understood that Clifford Chance has also been instructed to advise Heinz on a review of the group’s non-core assets in Europe. Last month the firm advised Heinz on its joint venture with Petrosoyuz, a Russian ketchup manufacturer, to expand sales of its products in Eastern Europe.

The deal includes HP Foods in the UK and Lea & Perrins in the US and sees Heinz granted a licence for using the Amoy brand in Europe. Amoy is a trademark for Danone in Asia.

The transaction, which is expected to complete during the next few months, is subject to regulatory approval.

The Clifford Chance team was led by partners Kathy Honeywood and Adam Sig-ny, with Michael Bryceland advising on competition.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer corporate partner Martin Nelson-Jones advised longstanding client Danone.