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You win some you lose some: Skadden’s client bows out of $1.7bn Amcol bidding war as $1bn Chiquita/Fyffes merger goes through

The month-long bidding war between French minerals company Imerys and New York’s Mineral Technologies (MT) for Amcol International this week saw Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom lose out to Cravath, Swaine & Moore as MT’s $1.7bn offer saw its competitor finally bow out of the frame. Although of significant consolation to the top five Global 100 firm is its second billion dollar deal of the week: the merger of client Chiquita with its rival, world renowned banana brand Fyffes.

MT, which produces the mineral bentonite primarily used in the energy and construction industry, was represented by Cravath’s head of corporate Scott Barshay, who for the past month has faced Skadden’s corporate partners Kenneth Wolff and Pierre Servan-Schreiber from New York and Paris respectively, as Imerys attempted to expand its presence in the US.

Skadden’s team also includes banking partner Stephanie Teicher, corporate finance partner Michael Zeidel, executive compensation and benefits partner Regina Olshan and tax partner Steven Matays.

Skadden previously advised the French company in 2009 on an issuance of shares worth approximately $340m.

Kirkland & Ellis’ Chicago-based corporate partners Richard Brand and Scott Falk served as counsel to Amcol. Also advising on the deal are executive compensation partner Scott Price, tax partner Keith Villmow and antitrust partner Bilal Sayyed.

MTI’s chairman and CEO Joseph Muscari said: ‘The combination of MTI and AMCOL will create a minerals platform that is well-positioned for growth through geographic expansion and new product innovation. We will be a leading industrial minerals company with more than $2 billion in sales [and] strong market positions.’

The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close in the first half of 2014, is subject to customary closing conditions.

Seeing another billion dollar deal to a happier conclusion this week was Skadden’s New York-based corporate partner David Friedman and Chicago-based global co-head of corporate transactions Peter Krupp, who represented Chiquita in its $1bn merger with Fyffes, creating a global banana and other fresh produce company with an estimated $4.6bn in annual revenues.

The transatlantic deal threw up a raft of legal advisory roles, with Taft Stettinius & Hollister also acting as corporate counsel to Chiquita alongside leading Irish firm McCann FitzGerald, led by corporate partner David Byers. On anti-trust issues, Chiquita instructed Kirkland & Ellis and Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett corporate partners Mario Ponce and Elizabeth Cooper led a team for Fyffes, alongside Irish firm Arthur Cox.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin advised longstanding client Fyffes on antitrust issues, with a team led by London-based senior partner Stephen Kon and competition partner Philipp Girardet.

Named ChiquitaFyffes, the union will give the companies a presence in more than 70 countries and a workforce of approximately 32,000 people globally.

Kon said: ‘This is a very exciting deal for our long-standing client Fyffes, which marks the beginning of another successful chapter in the company’s long and distinguished history. We are very proud to have been appointed by Fyffes to assist with bringing about this transformational deal.’

Chiquita and Fyffes plan to complete the transaction before the end of 2014.

with additional reporting from