Chapman Tripp advises South Island Office on AU$95m takeover of Sara Lee

The consumer favourite holds more than half of Australia and NZ's frozen dessert market

Chapman Tripp advises South Island Office on AU$95m takeover of Sara Lee

Chapman Tripp has advised Christchurch-based investment group South Island Office on all aspects of its AU$95m takeover of local consumer favourite Sara Lee.

Through its investment entities, South Island Office acquired Sara Lee from McCain Foods.

“This was a complex transaction which included an asset carve out from McCain’s existing operations and ongoing transitional arrangements, an internal group restructuring on the buy-side and a leveraged finance model which included a third party purchase and lease back of the underlying Sara Lee property in Australia,” Chapman Tripp partner Fiona Bennett said.

The purchase includes sales rights in New Zealand and Australia, where Sara Lee holds about 53% of the frozen dessert market. It also includes the sales rights in the majority of the APAC region as well as in the Middle East. 

The Sara Lee leadership team will stay on after the takeover, a move the company said would facilitate “continuity for teams, customers, and suppliers.”

Bennett said that it was "particularly satisfying” for South Island Office to engage Chapman Tripp’s assistance on the deal. Last year, the firm had worked with the group on its acquisition of Original Foods N.Z. Limited.

Bennett worked on the transaction with senior solicitors Sam Steven and Ryan Bridgman and solicitor Stephanie Knowler from the corporate and commercial practice, as well as with partner Gerard Souness, special counsel Joshua Jones and solicitor Matt Grenfell from the finance team.

Australian firm Gadens pitched in on the Australian law aspects of the transaction. The Gadens team comprised corporate partner Jeremy Smith, special counsel Winnie Sinn, senior associate Lauren Guercio and lawyer Chris Borghesi, who were assisted by partners Sean Huggins and Andrea Towson (real estate and construction), Brett Feltham (employment) and Elliot Raleigh (banking and finance). 

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