One sale was completed in the midst of the recent lockdown in Melbourne
Macpherson Kelley has confirmed its role in two significant sale deals, one of which was completed in the midst of the Melbourne lockdown last month.
The firm advised local snack food producer Diver Foods on the divestment of a majority stake to Arnott’s Group and family business Stillwell Motor Group on the sale of its Jaguar Land Rover dealership to Autosports Group Ltd, an east coast-based dealer in luxury cars, for $26m.
Diver Foods divestment
Macpherson Kelley national managing principal lawyer Grant Guenther, who took the reins at the firm in late October, led the team advising Diver Foods as it sold 75% of its stake to Arnott’s. With the sale, Diver Foods will be absorbed into Good Food Partners , a cereals and snacks division Arnott’s plans to establish.
Chris Diver, who owns and is the managing director of Diver Foods, retains his 25% stake and is set to oversee the new division.
“We see huge potential for the future and are excited at the prospect of joining with a business like The Arnott’s Group that has similar values and strong Australian heritage,” Diver said.
Guenther called the transaction “a transformational moment” for the country’s food manufacturing sector, with the manufacturers of some of the country’s most well-known products teaming up.
“We were able to bring our commercial and competition experience, as well as our long history working with the food manufacturing sector, to help bring this deal to completion,” he said.
Guenther worked alongside special counsel James McLaughlin and lawyer Aiden McKee. Principal lawyer Paul Kirton and special counsel Scott Fitzgibbon lent a hand on the competition law aspects of the deal.
$26m Jaguar Land Rover dealership sale
Meanwhile, Macpherson Kelley principal lawyer Terry Kokkinos took point on advising Stillwell as it divested its Jaguar and Land Rover business and property in Brighton. According to the firm, ASX lister Autosports approached Stillwell after the family-run company finished renovating the property for the development of a new dealership and showroom.
Autosports told the ASX that picking up the Brighton dealership was in line with its growth strategy and enabled the company to capitalise on its acquisition of the Jaguar Land Rover dealership in Sydney City.
“Autosports Group is delighted to secure another Jaguar Land Rover business and looks forward to strengthening its relationship with Jaguar Land Rover,” Autosports said.
Macpherson Kelley’s team was responsible for preparing all the documents related to the transaction, guiding the contract negotiation process and overseeing the settlement of the sale. However, the deal almost hit a snag when a snap five-day lockdown was announced for Melbourne last month.
“Settlement was set and on track for Monday, 15 February but when Premier Daniel Andrews announced the recent ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown on the Friday before, we had to quickly come up with some commercial workarounds to complete the usual site stocktakes and final counts which were able to be achieved with the cooperation of the Stillwell and Autosports teams,” Kokkinos said.
He praised the parties involved for their quick adjustment to the situation.
Lawyer Chris Bevacqua supported Kokkinos, while the property aspects of the sale were handled by principal lawyer Sebastian Renato and associate Justin Bellino.