Linklaters lines up with US firms on Reckitt Benckiser's $17.9bn baby formula company acquisition


Davis Polk & Wardwell, Linklaters and Kirkland & Ellis have secured mandates as Reckitt Benckiser agrees to buy US baby milk formula company Mead Johnson for $17.9bn (£14.4bn).

Reckitt Benckiser is set to acquire Mead Johnson for $90 per share in cash, valuing the company’s equity at $16.6bn. Including Mead Johnson’s net debt, the total value of the transaction is $17.9bn.

Davis Polk is acting for UK-based Reckitt Benckiser, according to sources close to the deal. The company makes health, hygiene and consumer products, such as Durex and Dettol, .

Davis Polk’s team includes New York corporate partners Harold Birnbaum and John Amorosi.

Kirkland is advising Mead Johnson on the deal. The Kirkland team is being led by London corporate partner David Holdsworth, who joined the firm’s London office last year from Linklaters, as well as New York corporate partner Jonathan Davis, Daniel Wolf, Willard Boothby and David Fox.

New York executive compensation partner Scott Price also advised, with help from New York tax partner Dean Shulman. Debt financing matters were handled by London partners Daniel Borg and Neel Sachdev. The team also comprised New York competition partner Ian John, City competition partner Paula Reidel and New York capital markets partner Tim Cruickshank.

Linklaters is advising on English law banking matters for Reckitt Benckiser.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton corporate partners Ethan Klingsberg and Paul Tiger, as well as securities litigation partner Meredith Kotler, are representing Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as financial advisers to Mead Johnson.

The news comes after ex-BP group general counsel Rupert Bondy left the oil giant to join Reckitt Benckiser last year.

Last year, Kirkland also scored an advisory role on the $8.8bn (£6.6bn) purchase of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) software business, by UK technology company Micro Focus.

Kirland represented Micro Focus and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised HPE on the deal.