Prominent pair uncork $1bn acquisition

An American asset manager buys the largest wine company in Australia and the UK by sales volume

Prominent pair uncork $1bn acquisition

A duo of top law firms have acted in the sale of the largest wine company in Australia and the UK by sales volume.

Clifford Chance advised The Carlyle Group on its acquisition of 100% of The Accolade Wines Group for $1bn. Gilbert + Tobin (G+T) acted for CHAMP Private Equity, which owned 80% of the wine giant. The Carlyle Group also bought the 20% stake of US liquor company Constellation Brands.

The Australia-headquartered Accolade Wines operates a global wine production and sales business that has annual worldwide sales of more than 36 million cases of wine.

Andrew Cook, who is based in Sydney, led the Clifford Chance team. He was supported by senior associate Reuben van Wekum. The firm provided UK and EU advice via London partner Nigel Wellings and associate Stephanie Phillips. The firm also tapped lawyers in its US and China offices for the deal.

G+T said that it worked in all legal aspects of the deal, including coordinating diligence across the UK, Europe, Asia, NZ, and both North and South America, as well as negotiating transaction documents relating to Australia, UK, and NZ. The firm worked closely with Jeremy Stevenson, CHAMP general counsel, and Julie Ryan, Accolade general counsel, it said.

G+T has a long-time client relationship with CHAMP, having advised when the asset manager invested in Accolade Wines in 2011.

The G+T team was led by partners Peter Cook, Rachael Bassil, and senior lawyer Alastair Corrigall. They were supported by lawyers Elizabeth Cameron, Anna de Navi, Jill Nyhof, and Alexandra Meade.

Clifford Chance and G+T were recently both involved in the creation of one of Australia’s largest gaming and entertainment companies.

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