International law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised Findus Group (Findus), one of the largest frozen food manufacturers in Europe, on the acquisition of the retail business of Lutosa, a leading Belgian frozen potato brand. Findus acquired Lutosa from McCain, and the deal was completed on 28 February 2014.
Lutosa produces French fries and speciality potato products, accounting for approximately 15 per cent of the Belgian retail market for frozen potatoes. Among the specialties produced by Lutosa are potato wedges, croquettes and rösti as well as French fries. The acquisition will enable Findus to significantly increase its presence in Belgium – a market renowned for the quality of its potatoes and frites.
Lutosa's retail business in the EEA was a business McCain was required to divest pursuant to an Undertaking given to the European Commission when it acquired Lutosa in May 2013, a business with an enterprise value of Euro 225 million. This transaction also required the approval of the European Commission.
Stephenson Harwood acted as sole legal adviser to Findus on all aspects of the acquisition, including the initial preparatory work, anti-trust advice, business transfer agreement and a complex set of intellectual property transfer and licensing agreements.
Andrew McLean, corporate partner who led the deal, commented: "We are delighted to have advised Findus on this European acquisition. By adding Lutosa to its already well-known portfolio of frozen product brands, it establishes the company's presence in Belgium and expands its European offering."
"Stephenson Harwood's consumer practice is continuing to grow, and we are pleased to be able to assist an ever increasing number of food clients in regard to their legal needs – be it for acquisitions, disposals, licensing or product development."
Andrew McLean, corporate partner, led the Stephenson Harwood team and was assisted by intellectual property partner Alexandra Pygall and commercial associate Simon Bollans.
McCain and Lutosa were advised by De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Atlas Advisors provided financial advice.