McGuireWoods is one of eight firms shortlisted for Legal Week’s The British Legal Awards 2016 in the category “M&A Team of the Year (Medium-Sized Deal).” The final award winner in this and 28 other categories will be formally recognized at a Nov. 24 ceremony hosted by Legal Week and The City of London Law Society in London’s Finsbury Square.
Each qualifying entry for this category focused on a single M&A deal valued at less than £1 billion that included a significant UK element. McGuireWoods’ entry described the representation of U.S. private equity fund Highlander Partners, a Dallas-based middle-market private investment firm with more than $1 billion of assets under management, on its acquisition of London-based Fuerst Day Lawson Holdings Limited (FDL). FDL, a food and trading/manufacturing company, operates three facilities in the United Kingdom with smaller operations in China, India and the United States.
Circumventing the bid process, FDL made the strategic decision to sell its business to Highlander Partners because of the investment firm’s “buy and build” approach to growing companies through acquisitions. With a target in place, it was critical that the legal team complete negotiations for the acquisition and financing — a process that typically takes several months — in just three weeks.
McGuireWoods London and Richmond partner Patrick De Ridder and London partner Mebs Dossa led the transaction team, and London partner Marc Isaacs handled the acquisition financing under the tight deadline. The McGuireWoods team worked with co-counsel from FuJae Partners and Universal Legal in India to assist Highlander in navigating international compliance regulations across four countries while also securing equity and bank financing. The deal, announced Feb. 19, 2016, strengthens FDL’s position as a leading international food and beverage ingredient and flavor company.
The British Legal Awards, the leading honors for the UK’s business law community, celebrate “achievement, excellence and innovation in the legal profession.” For each entry, judges are looking for evidence of legal expertise and innovation, project management skills, teamwork, client satisfaction, and value for money. Evaluating the entries is an independent panel of judges: general counsel and senior members of the legal community and several former law firm managing partners. Alasdair Douglas, chairman of the City of London Law Society, serves as the judging panel’s chair.