Kirkland & Ellis faced an uphill battle with the Federal Trade Commission in their defense of a merger between H.J. Heinz Company and Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. The domestic jarred baby food market had been comprised of Gerber, Heinz and Beech-Nut and no court had ever approved a merger that reduced the number of national competitors in a given market from three to two. Kirkland & Ellis first became involved in the case on the transactional side, with a team led by partners William Kirsch and Edward Swan. But when the FTC made a second request for information in late April, Kirkland antitrust litigators Mark Kovner and Tefft Smith joined Heinz's litigation team.
"God wants this deal," Smith said. "It's good for apple pie, motherhood, and the American consumer."