Norton Rose and Bär & Karrer get slice of action as Domino’s goes Swiss

Norton Rose and Swiss firm Bär & Karrer have acted for Domino’s Pizza Group as it reached an agreement to acquire the Domino’s Swiss franchise.

The UK-based master franchise of international fast food pizza deliverer Domino’s Pizza, which operates Domino’s franchises in the UK, Ireland and Germany, is expected to pay Sfr7m (£4.7m) to acquire the Swiss rights from Domino’s Pizza Switzerland and take over twelve of its existing outlets in the country.

The agreement included advising on aspects of the company’s master franchise agreement, which gives the company exclusive rights to operate and franchise Domino’s stores in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, as well as an option to acquire the master franchise agreement for the group’s stores across Austria.

The deal will be done in two tranches, with an initial payment of £3.33m followed by a second payment of around £1.33m that will be payable up to two years after the initial transaction has been completed.

Norton Rose acted for Domino’s as UK legal advisers on the deal, with London-based corporate partner Julian Stanier and associate Fay Stavrou leading the team.

Bär & Karrer acted as Swiss legal counsel to Domino’s, with a team led by M&A partner and Zug office chief Michael Trippel and Zurich-based reorganisation and insolvency practice head Thomas Rohde. Corporate associate Daniel Heiniger also acted on the transaction.

Domino’s general counsel and company secretary Adam Batty led the in-house team acting on the deal.

Background to this deal:

Domino’s decision to acquire its Swiss franchise comes after a successful year for group, seeing profits before tax for the first six months of 2012 rising 13.2 per cent to £21.5m. At the end of June the company had 748 stores across Europe and has plans to open 18 more stores in Germany in 2013.

This was a first-time appointment for Bär & Karrer.

Norton Rose has strong links with Domino’s in-house counsel Batty, who previously practised as a corporate lawyer at the firm. He joined Domino’s in 2009 after a six-year stint as director of legal at pub company Mitchells & Butlers.