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S&C and Wachtell lead on Amazon’s $13.7bn Whole Foods buyout

Sullivan & Cromwell and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz lead a host of elite US law firms advising Amazon on its $13.7bn purchase of Whole Foods Market, as the online retailer expands into the bricks and mortar food market.

Sullivan & Cromwell partners Krishna Veeraghavan and Eric Krautheimer are leading on behalf of Amazon while Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz partners Daniel Neff, Trevor Norwitz and Sabastian Niles are acting for Whole Foods.

Weil Gotshal & Manges banking partners Morgan Bale and Heather Viets, capital markets partner Faiza Rahman, M&A partner Raymond Gietz and tax partner William Horton all represented Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs. The banking giants provided debt financing for Amazon to pay for the merger.

Latham & Watkins acts for financial adviser Evercore Partners on the deal, with a team consisting of corporate partners Adel Aslani-Far and Mark Gerstein.  US-headquartered company Whole Foods hired Evercore Partners earlier this year to advise the company on a strategic review of its business operations. 

The merger is the first high-profile role that Sullivan & Cromwell has undertaken this year since advising Deutsche Bank on its £500m fine by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in January.

Sullivan & Cromwell white collar partner Samuel Seymour advised Deutsche Bank on its US settlement with the FCA.

For Latham & Watkins, Amazon’s swoop on the upmarket food grocery market is the first major deal since advising offshore drilling contractor Ensco on its $839m acquisition of Atwood Oceanics. The top US-headquarted firm advised Ensco with a team lead by Houston-based energy partners Sean Wheeler and Debbie Yee. Ensco also turned to Slaughter and May corporate partner Hywel Davies for advice.

Amazon was unavailable for comment.