US firms Davis Polk and Kirkland feed on Heinz takeover

Davis Polk & Wardwell, Kirkland & Ellis and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz were among the advisers on the $28bn (£18bn) takeover of food giant Heinz by an investment consortium.

The deal – said to be the largest ever transaction in the food industry – saw Kirkland & Ellis and Californian firm Munger Tolles & Olsen instructed for the buyers 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway, led by US investor Warren Buffett.

The Davis Polk corporate team advising Heinz included partners Arthur Holden, John Bick and Michael Davis, with associate Lee Hochbaum. Partner Kyoko Takahashi Lin advised on employee benefits and partner Kathleen Ferrell on tax. Also on the New York-based team was finance partners James Florack and Michael Kaplan with associate Sophia Hudson and antitrust and competition parter Ronan Harty.

A Wachtell team led by finance partner Edward Herhily and corporate partner David Shapiro advised the transaction committee of Heinz’s board of directors in negotiating the deal, which will see shareholders receive $72.50 (£46.71) for each share.

The New York-based Kirkland team acting for 3G was led by corporate partners Stephen Fraidin, William Sorabella and David Feirstein, debt finance partner Jay Ptashek, capital markets partners Joshua Korff and Michael Kim and Washington DC corporate partners Christopher Torrente and Daniel Michaels, alongside associate Richard Brand. Also on the team were corporate associates Adele Maloney Thomas, Brandon Charnas and Nick Schwartz, executive compensation partner Scott Price and associate Suzi Sabogal, tax partners Greer Phillips and Steven Clemens, private funds partner Andrew Wright, Washington DC competition partner Mark Kovner and litigation partner Peter Doyle.

Munger Tolles partner Bob Denham led for Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffet said he was investing in “strong brand equities” and “strong, sustainable growth potential”.

Heinz chairman, president and CEO William Johnson said the deal represented an “exciting new chapter” in the history of the company.

Background to this deal:

In Europe, Heinz slashed its external legal panel from 50 to three, following a review (13 March 2012).

Munger Tolles is understood to be a regular adviser to billionaire business magnate Buffet.

For more on the future of Davis Polk, read this week’s feature on the firm