In the News The Am Law Daily

Bemis, Food Americas Wrap $1.2 Billion Deal

Bemis Company, Inc., a packaging supplier, announced Monday that it will acquire the Food Americas operations of Alcan Packaging for $1.2 billion. Food Americas, a packager of snack foods, meats, cheese, and other items, is a unit of mining group Rio Tinto PLC.

The sale of Food Americas is part of Rio Tinto's continued efforts to divest assets and raise money as part of an effort to erase nearly $39 billion in debt. Bemis, based in Wisconsin, will receive 23 new manufacturing facilities, allowing it to push sales from $3.8 billion to an expected $5.3 billion annually, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Bemis has turned to Baker & McKenzie to handle the acquisition--the company is a longtime client of the firm. The global M&A team is led by corporate partner Dieter Schmitz and includes corporate partners Stephen Griesemer, Jane Hobson, Andres Ochoa-Bunsow, Alberto Mori, and Nurhan Aycan, and associates Edward Harrison, Divya Reddy, and Christina Sajous. Tax partner John McDonald and antitrust partner David Clanton also are advising on the transaction. Bemis is a longtime client of Baker's.

For legal counsel on financing matters, Bemis has turned to a Kirkland & Ellis team led by corporate partner Linda Myers. Faegre & Benson partner James Nicholson is advising Bemis on the equity offering.

Rio Tinto has tapped Tim Emmerson of Sullivan & Cromwell.

Baker & McKenzie's Schmitz says the deal might signal the reemergence of the traditional M&A market, as many other deals have been put on hold during the economic crisis. Just last month, Rio Tinto backed out of its proposed $19.5 billion strategic partnership with Chinalco. Schmitz insists manufacturing companies are coming back to the table: "M&A is slowly coming back to normal," he says.

The sale, which has been in the works for about a year, is expected to close by early September after undergoing regulatory review.