Groupe Lactalis’s $3.2 Billion Acquisition of Kraft Heinz’s Cheese Businesses

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP represented Kraft Heinz Company, while Dentons represented Groupe Lactalis in the transaction.

Kraft Heinz Company entered into a definitive agreement to sell its natural and cultured cheese businesses to Groupe Lactalis, a French multinational dairy products corporation, for $3.2 billion. The proposed transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2021, subject to regulatory review and approval.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kraft Heinz will sell production facilities located in California, New York and Wisconsin as well as a distribution center in Wisconsin. These facilities are being sold as a going concern and all employees will retain their positions. Approximately 750 employees will be transferred from Kraft Heinz to Groupe Lactalis. The transaction will include Kraft Heinz’s Natural, Snacking, Grated, Cultured and Specialty cheese businesses in the U.S.

The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC), commonly known as Kraft Heinz, is an American food company formed by the merger of Kraft Foods and Heinz and is co-headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kraft Heinz is the third-largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth-largest in the world with $25.0 billion in annual sales as of 2019.

Groupe Lactalis, the world’s leading dairy group, is a French-family business founded in 1933 in Laval, France. Present in 51 countries, with 266 dairies and cheese dairies throughout the world, its 85,000 employees promote milk in all its forms: cheese, drinking milk, yogurts, butters and creams, dairy ingredients and nutrition.

RBC Capital Markets, LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to Kraft Heinz for this transaction.

The Paul, Weiss team advising Kraft Heinz includes corporate partners Jeffrey Marell (Picture), Rachael Coffey, Scott Barshay, Kyle Seifried, David Carmona and Caith Kushner; intellectual property partner Claudine Meredith-Goujon; litigation partners Eric Stone and Charles Rule and counsel Megan Raymond; tax partner Jeffrey Samuels and counsel Alyssa Wolpin; real estate partner Peter Fisch; employee benefits partner Lawrence Witdorchic and counsel Jarrett Hoffman; environmental counsel William O’Brien; and antitrust counsel Marta Kelly.

The Dentons team was led by Corporate partner Jean-Marc Grosperrin (Paris) in Europe and globally, and Corporate partner Kristina Beirne (New York) in the US. They were assisted by partner François Chateau. US team included Partners Katharina Babich, Dan Beale, Barry Cannaday, Steve Libowsky, David Metzger, Monica Richman, Timothy Santoli, Todd Silliman, Jason Silverman, Ryan Westhoff and Mike Zolandz ; Counsels Tara Bradley, Ausra Deluard and Mary Mathew ; Senior Managing Associates Erin Bass and Jeff Sivek, and Associates Nick Coffaro, Irina Fayman and Benjamin Fraimow. France team included Partners Emmanuelle van den Broucke and David Masson, Counsel Tanit Gendre and Associates Romain Picard and Chen Gu. Canada team inlcuded Partners Rick Scott, Mark Mahoney, Sandy Walker, Larry Nevsky andMeaghen Russel. Australia team included Partner Kym Livesley. China team included Senior Partner Nancy Sun. Japan team included Partner Shinsuke Okamura of Midosuji LPC. Korea team included Senior Attorney John K. Min and Senior Managing Attorneys Young-Soo Choi and Andrew J. Park.Mexico team included Partner Amanda Valdez. Puerto Rico team included Partner Lizette Velez-Rive of Carvajal & Vélez-Rivé, PSC.

Involved fees earner: Lizette Vélez-Rivé – Carvajal & Vélez-Rivé; Katharina Babich – Dentons; Erin Bass – Dentons; Daniel Beale – Dentons; Kristina Beirne – Dentons; Tara Bradley – Dentons; Barry Cannaday – Dentons; François Chateau – Dentons; Young-Soo Choi – Dentons; Nick Coffaro – Dentons; Ausra Deluard – Dentons; Irina Fayman – Dentons; Benjamin Fraimow – Dentons; Tanit Gendre – Dentons; Jean-Marc Grosperrin – Dentons; Chen Gu – Dentons; Stephen Libowsky – Dentons; Kym Livesley – Dentons; Mark Mahoney – Dentons; David Masson – Dentons; Mary Mathew – Dentons; David Metzger – Dentons; John Min – Dentons; Larry Nevsky – Dentons; Andrew Park – Dentons; Romain Picard – Dentons; Monica Richman – Dentons; Meaghen Russel – Dentons; Timothy Santoli – Dentons; Rick Scott – Dentons; Todd Silliman – Dentons; Jason Silverman – Dentons; Jeffrey Sivek – Dentons; Nancy Sun – Dentons; Emmanuelle van den Broucke – Dentons; Sandy Walker – Dentons; Ryan Westhoff – Dentons; Michael Zolandz – Dentons; Amanda Valdez – Dentons López Velarde; Shinsuke Okamura – Midosuji LPC; Scott Barshay – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; David Carmona – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Rachael Coffey – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Peter Fisch – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Jarrett Hoffman – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Marta Kelly – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Caith Kushner – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Jeffrey Marell – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Claudine Meredith-Goujon – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; William O’Brien – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Megan Raymond – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Charles Rule – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Jeffrey Samuels – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Kyle Seifried – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Eric Alan Stone – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Lawrence Witdorchic – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Alyssa Wolpin – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison;

Law Firms: Carvajal & Vélez-Rivé; Dentons; Dentons López Velarde; Midosuji LPC; Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison;

Clients: Kraft Heinz Company; Lactalis;

Author: Ambrogio Visconti