Two acquisitions of significant New Zealand-based companies by Australasian investors Pacific Equity Partners have been highlights in the mergers and acquisitions market for the first half of 2006.
Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) is one of the largest and most active private equity funds in Australia and New Zealand.
In April, it completed its acquisition of New Zealand's largest poultry producer Tegel Foods and shortly before announced it had agreed to buy leading biscuit maker Griffins Foods. Bell Gully advised PEP on both transactions.
PEP purchased Tegel Foods from H.J. Heinz Company, in a transaction valued at NZ$250 million. Tegel Foods was initially purchased by Pittsburgh-based Heinz in 1992. While selling Tegel, Heinz has retained its ownership of New Zealand-based Heinz Wattie's food manufacturing business.
Bell Gully advised Pacific Equity Partners on all aspects of the Tegel acquisition. Partner David Flacks led the team, which also included partners David McPherson and Clive Taylor, senior associate Darryl King and solicitors Louise Hill and Sarah-Jane Puch.
In March, PEP agreed to purchase Griffins Foods from Danone Asia Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Groupe Danone SA for about NZ$385 million. David Flacks was Bell Gully's lead partner advising PEP, with partner David McPherson and senior associate Darryl King also on the team.
David Flacks says the transactions are among the most significant undertaken in New Zealand in the first half of 2006. They involve sizeable acquisitions of household brands from multinational companies and demonstrate the continuing growth of private equity investment.
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