KWM showcases M&A expertise in F&B, healthcare deals

The firm assisted in a strategic acquisition and on a landmark merger for not-for-profit health insurers

KWM showcases M&A expertise in F&B, healthcare deals

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has showcased its M&A expertise with its work in two recent F&B and healthcare-related deals.

The firm advised Lion on its strategic acquisition of the Fermentum Group, which consists of brands Stone & Wood, Two Birds, Fixation, Little Dragon and Sunly Seltzer. Meredith Paynter, the lead partner on the deal, described the transaction as “a significant milestone.”

“The acquisition will build on Lion’s proven record of growing unique businesses, including Little Creatures in beer through to Four Pillars and Vanguard Luxury Spirits,” she said. “We are thrilled to have supported the Lion team on this project, and are looking forward to watching Fermentum’s next chapter unfold as part of Lion.”

Paynter and her team collaborated with the internal legal deal team at Lion, which was helmed by Richard Ballinger and Saira Zaki. They worked together on the negotiation and documentation of the transaction, as well as on its commercial, legal and regulatory aspects.

KWM senior associate Mark Vanderneut co-led the firm’s team; he and Paynter received support from partners Sharon Henrick, Scott Bouvier, Malcolm Brennan and Max Allan, as well as from lawyers Christopher Kok, Mandy Tsang, Rebecca Stanley, Astrid Sugden and Lenny Andreev.

Meanwhile, partner Rhys Casey led the provision of advice to The Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Limited (HCF) with regard to a proposed merger with Railway & Transport Health Fund Limited (rt Health).

The deal is set to be the one of the first mergers between not-for-profit mutual private health insurers under the Private Health Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2015 (Cth) (PHIPS Act) upon obtaining approval from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, KWM said. This approval is one of the conditions that must be met in order for the merger to push through.

Under the terms of the merger, rt Health policyholders will be transitioned to an HCF-established fund subject to the statutory transfer process in the PHIPS Act, the firm explained. The deal is set to generate opportunities and benefit each fund’s members through improved competitive pricing and clinical coverage.

“This is an exciting deal for HCF and for the not-for-profit mutual industry more broadly. Not-for-profit health insurers play a valuable role and have a longstanding history in the sector,” Casey said. “HCF is proud of its 90-year legacy and the merger is another important milestone as it looks to the future.”

Casey received support from senior associate Mitch Fairbairn and solicitor Caroline Paskevich.

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