Lawyers on Major Transactions
Kramer Levin, Simpson Thacher Advise on Del Monte Transaction
–Tom Huddleston Jr.
Del Monte Foods is giving up fruits and vegetables but keeping its Kibbles 'n Bits.
The company said last week that it has agreed to sell its well-known canned fruits and vegetables business to Del Monte Pacific Limited—a separate company that sells products under the Del Monte brand in the Philippines—in a deal worth $1.68 billion. The unit includes canned fruits, vegetables, and broths marketed under the Del Monte, College Inn, Contadina, and S&W brands. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, pending regulatory approval.
Del Monte Pacific, which also sells fresh and packaged produce in China and India, operates the world's largest pineapple plantation through a Philippines-based subsidiary and holds long-term supply agreements with Del Monte Foods.
In announcing the deal, San Francisco-based Del Monte Foods said that selling the consumer products unit will allow it to further expand its presence in the $20 billion U.S. pet food market. Upon closing of the deal, Del Monte Foods said it plans to change its name to reflect its focus on a stable of pet food brands that includes Kibbles 'n Bits dog food, Meow Mix and 9Lives cat food, and dog snacks like Milk-Bone and Snausages.
When private equity firm KKR bought Del Monte Foods for $5.3 billion three years ago, the company noted its past efforts to expand the pet food unit, and said it planned to give that market even more attention in the future. In May, the company paid an undisclosed amount to acquire Natural Balance Pet Foods, the pet food maker cofounded in 1989 by Spaceballs actor Dick Van Patten.
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel is advising Del Monte Pacific with an all-New York team led by real estate partner Jay Neveloff, corporate partner Peter Smith, and banking partner David Fisher. Additional partners are Howard Rothman, tax; Jonathan Caplan and Erica Klein, intellectual property; Robert Holtzman and Christine Lutgens, employee benefits; Jonathan Wagner, litigation; Neil Tucker, real estate; and Charles Warren, environmental. Also assisting are special counsels Blake Rigel, tax; Toni Finger, environmental; Izabel McDonald, employment law; and Randal Murdock, corporate. Associates are Brandon Cody, Sarah Kaehler, Avon Khowong and Seth Merl, corporate; Josh Winefsky, real estate; and Francesca Butnick, IP.
Antonio Ungson is Del Monte Pacific's top in-house attorney.
Del Monte Foods, meanwhile is being represented by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, led by New York-based corporate partner Marni Lerner. Assisting are associates Shabarika Ajitkumar and Caroline Gross, M&A; associate Christopher Bell credit; partner Nancy Mehlman and associates Adam Wells and Michael Cardella, tax; partner David Rubinsky, counsel Paul Koppel and associate Alina Finkelshteyn, executive compensation and employee benefits; associates Samantha Himelman and Marcela Robledo, intellectual property; counsel Krista McManus and associates Alison Fagen and Raymond Kim, real estate; senior counsel Michael Isby, environmental; and partner Joseph Kaufman, capital markets. All are in New York, but Robledo is in Palo Alto.
Bruce Jordan serves as general counsel of Del Monte Foods.
Four Firms Lead $2.3 Billion Sales of Chemical Firms
Lawyers from a quartet of firms have picked up roles on two big chemical transactions worth a total of $2.3 billion.