Linklaters and Baker McKenzie bite into £1.4bn Weetabix sale


Linklaters, Baker McKenzie, Ropes & Gray and Mills & Reeve are advising on the $1.8bn (£1.4bn) sale of Weetabix Limited to US cereal firm Post Holdings.

Linklaters is advising the sellers, Chinese food giant Bright Food and an investment fund owned by Baring Private Equity Asia, on the sale, after advising Bright Food on its 2012 acquisition of a 60% stake in Weetabix from Lion Capital for £1.2bn.

The magic circle firm is fielding a team including senior consultant Richard Gu in Shanghai and London corporate partner Carlton Evans.

Ropes & Gray is also acting for majority shareholder Bright Food and Baring Private Equity Asia, a significant minority shareholder. The Ropes team is being led by private equity partners Will Rosen in London and Peng Yu in Hong Kong, supported by competition partner Ruchit Patel in London.

Northamptonshire-based Weetabix, one of the largest producers of breakfast cereals in the UK, also owns brands such as Alpen and Ready Brek, and exports to more than 80 countries.

Bakers, meanwhile, is acting for Post Holdings, with a team led by London corporate partner Charles Whitefoord alongside Brussels competition partner Bill Batchelor, and corporate partner Regine Corrado in Chicago.

US firm Lewis Rice is advising Post Holdings on US aspects of the deal.

Mills & Reeve is advising the management of Weetabix on the deal, with a team led by Cambridge corporate partner Anthony McGurk.

Last year, legacy firms Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co and Gowlings won a joint appointment from Weetabix to advise the company on its global intellectual property (IP) needs, prior to the combination between the two firms that formed Gowling WLG. IP partners Kate Swaine and Shelagh Carnegie handle the global protection, management and enforcement of the Weetabix brand portfolio.

In 2014, Bright Food turned to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on its acquisition of a majority share in Israel’s largest food company, Tnuva, for close to $1bn (£790m).