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Allen & Overy and Linklaters scoop roles as Nestlé launches ice cream joint venture

Allen & Overy and Linklaters have won roles on the creation of Froneri, a 50/50, €3bn joint venture between global food giant Nestlé and British frozen food firm R&R Ice Cream to sell ice cream in more than 20 countries.

Linklaters advised Nestlé while Allen & Overy advised the owner of R&R Ice Cream, Paris-based private equity house PAI Partners, as the pair pool their portfolios in a bid to share costs.

Headquartered in the UK, the new brand will cover over 20 markets in Europe, the Middle East, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the Philippines and South Africa. The joint venture, which will combine the two companies’ ice cream businesses and will include Nestlé’s European frozen food business in most areas, is expected to employ over 15,000 workers and generate sales of $2.8bn. The deal is expected to close midway through the year.

A&O private equity partners Stephen Lloyd (pictured) and Karan Dinamani led a team instructed by PAI Partners, alongside commercial partner Jim Ford, who is advising on intellectual property issues. Linklaters corporate partner Michael Honan, who was promoted to partner last year, led the team advising Nestlé on the joint venture.

Speaking to Legal Business Lloyd, (pictured) said: ‘The great thing for us is that PAI is an existing finance client of the firm which we’ve translated into an M&A client, increasingly helping them with their big international transactions.

‘This is an important transaction for PAI and Nestlé, not just for its size and complexity but as an early example of trade outsourcing production to a private equity partner while refocusing its business on a branding model.’

This is the third acquisition on which A&O has advised PAI on in the past 18 months, with the firm instructed by the Paris-based private equity fund on its £301m acquisition of outdoor outfitter A/S Adventure in February 2015 and its bolt-on purchase of rival Snow & Rock, which owns Cotswold Outdoor, in May that year.

The two firms recently won roles advising on a $965m combined financing deal for UAE Exchange Centre and Travelex Holdings backed by nine banks, to support both forex companies’ growth plans. UAE Exchange was advised by Linklaters while the nine banks were advised by A&O.

For more on competition between London-based private equity teams, see ‘ABC – the brutally simple world of a private equity lawyer’