LONDON (December 17, 2014) — International law firm McDermott Will & Emery represented Olam International Limited in its pending acquisition of Archer Daniels Midland Company’s (ADM) global cocoa business. The US$1.3 billion transaction will establish Olam Cocoa as one of the world’s top three cocoa processors.
Based in Singapore and listed on the SGX-ST, Olam is a leading agri-business operating in 65 countries. Its Cocoa business is one of the world’s largest suppliers of sustainable cocoa and is a leader in long-term sustainability initiatives.
The proposed acquisition, which has the support of Olam’s major shareholders, is subject to necessary regulatory approvals and clearances, customary closing conditions.
Corporate Partner Nicholas Azis co-led the McDermott team from London, with David Goldman, partner and head of the Firm’s International Corporate Advisory Practice Group leading the negotiations with partner Michael Sartor in the United States.
“We are pleased to be involved in what is a truly transformational deal for our longstanding client, Olam, and particularly for the cocoa team in London, for who we have advised on previous deals in Europe,” said Azis.
The acquisition follows a string of international deals this year on which McDermott has advised in the food and beverage industry, including, the acquisition of Unilever’s meat snacks business for Jack Links, the sale of the leading Nigerian beverage can manufacturer Alucan to Nampak and the acquisition by Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat for Boulevard Brewing, in what was reported to be the largest acquisition in the craft beer space to date in the US.
“Olam’s continuing choice to engage McDermott as lead counsel on yet another deal, particularly such a strategic, board-level one, is a testament to our ability to affect a complex, billion dollar, cross-border transactions in food and beverage, a sector that we very much lauded for,” said Goldman.
McDermott has a long established relationship with Olam International, having represented the company on nearly a dozen acquisitions in recent years, including in West Africa, Russia and the United States. McDermott most recently represented Olam in the sale of its sweet condensed and evaporated milk business in Côte d’Ivoire to FrieslandCampina, a multinational dairy group based in the Netherlands.
With its acquisition of the ADM cocoa business, Olam will become one of the top three cocoa processors and enhance its origination footprint. Under the proposed transaction, the deal includes processing facilities in Mississauga, Canada; Koog aan de Zaan and Wormer, Netherlands; Mannheim, Germany; Ilhéus, Brazil; Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; Kumasi, Ghana; and Singapore, as well as ADM's buying stations in Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, and Indonesia, and the iconic deZaan brand and the UNICAO brands.
In addition to Mr. Azis, Mr. Sartor and Mr. Goldman, the McDermott deal team included partners, Maureen O’Brien, Daphne Trotter, John Calandra, Joel Grosberg, Ankur Gupta, Andrea Hamilton, Joanne Ludovici, Obiamaka Madubuko, Rohan Massey, Tom Scott, Volker Teigelkötter, Holger Weiß, and Daniel Zucker. Counsel Dan Bucca and Jan Hückel, and Associates Eleanor West, Lara Stahl, Jessica Bayles, Thomas Gennert, Misbah Imtiaz, Emily Knurek, Bess Morgan and Patrick Ryan were also instrumental in the transaction.
JP Morgan Ltd. acted as financial adviser to Olam. Jenner & Block and Sidley Austin advised ADM.
McDermott represents more than 500 clients in the Food, Beverage and Agribusiness sector, with many of these relationships stretching back for decades. The Firm advises all participants in the value chain—growers, processors, input suppliers, cooperatives, food manufacturers, importers, distributors, trade associations, retailers, restaurants and other stakeholders—across the range of issues affecting the production, distribution and marketing of food, beverages and related products.
About McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,100 lawyers, we have offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. Further extending our reach into Asia, we have a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.