August 3, 2015
The New York office of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Brazil’s Trindade – Sociedade de Advogados, Colombian firm Brigard & Urrutia Abogados, Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi in Buenos Aires and Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier in Paris have helped France’s Casino sell its stakes in two Argentine and Brazilian supermarket chains to Colombian subsidiary Éxito aimed at cutting costs in the face of sluggish economic growth in Latin America.
Éxito sought advice from Argentine firm Hope, Duggan & Silva, Brazil’s Lefosse Advogados and Colombian firms Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta Abogados and Lloreda Camacho & Co. The supermarket chain is also thought to have hired White & Case LLP in Paris, but this could not be confirmed prior to publication. It is understood that Colombian firm Uribe y Hena also advised Casino, but this firm could not be contacted before publication. The deal was announced on Friday.
Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York assisted Citibank as lender and Citigroup Global Markets as arranger in the provision of a US$400 million bridge loan to Éxito to help finance the deal. Banco Davivienda, Banco de Bogotá, Banco de Occidente, Banco Popular, Banco AV Villas, Leasing Bancolombia and Bancolombia aslo helped the supermarket chain pay for the transaction by providing the supermarket chain with a credit facility worth US$1.2 billion. The banking syndicate turned to Colombia’s Cárdenas & Cárdenas (now Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas).
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Philippi, Prietocarrizosa & Uría (Colombia) helped Bank of America Merrill Lynch provide Éxito’s board of directors with a fairness opinion on the transaction’s financial integrity.
Éxito will gain 50 per cent of Casino’s stake in Brazil’s Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA) supermarket chain and 100 per cent of Argentine counterpart Libertad. The rebalancing is projected to save Casino around US$159 million per year in costs and better equip the French company to weather worsening economic conditions in two of Latin America’s largest economies. Figures published last month by the International Monetary Fund predict Argentina will grow by just 0.1 per cent this year, while Brazil’s economy looks set to contract by 1.5 per cent.
Casino is Éxito’s controlling shareholder and owns a 54.8 per cent stake in the Colombian retailer. The transaction is expected to close later this month and is subject to approval from Éxito’s shareholders, who will vote on the deal at a general shareholders’ meeting on 18 August.
In 2011, Casino upped its stake in GPA to 48.1 per cent months after a failed takeover attempt by its French rival Carrefour. In 2014, Éxito acquired supermarket chain Superinter to expand into Colombia’s coffee-growing triangle in the west of the country and its coastal Cauca Valley region. It turned to Brigard & Urrutia for the acquisition, while Superinter hired Philippi, Prietocarrizosa & Uría (Colombia).
Counsel to Casino
- Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
- Partners Adam Emmerich and Eiko Stange and associates John Robinson and Samson Mesele in New York
- Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi
- Partner Siro Astolfi and associates Exequiel Buenaventura, Santiago Balbi, Agustín Ferrari, Santiago Marina and Nicolás Pustilink, and international associate Katherine Torres in Buenos Aires
- Trindade – Sociedade de Advogados
- Partners Marcelo Trindade and Pedro Testa in Rio de Janeiro
- Brigard & Urrutia Abogados
- Partner Sergio Michelsen and associate Fernando Castillo, Hernán Vidal and Laura Ribero in Bogotá
- Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier
- Partners Bertrand Cardi and Forrest Alogna in Paris
Counsel to Éxito
- In-house counsel – Claudia Echavarría and Ana Carolina Velasquez
- Hope, Duggan & Silva
- Partners Juan Duggan, Rufino Arce and Hugo Vivot and associates Nicolas Ricciardi, Guido Molinari, Fermin Allemand and Victoria O´Gorman in Buenos Aires
- Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta Abogados
- Daniel Londoño Pinzón, Jaime Robledo, Andrés Hoyos and Mauricio Piñeros and associates Adriana Moreno, Andrea Fradique, Andrés Rincón and Tonia Orozco in Bogotá
- Lefosse Advogados
- Partners Luiz Octavio Lopes, Andrea Caliento and Bruno Carramaschi and associate Jessica Wingel in São Paulo
- Lloreda Camacho & Co
- Partners Santiago Gutierrez and Andres Hidalgo and associate Daiana Lopez in Bogotá
Counsel to Citibank and Citigroup Global Markets
- Shearman & Sterling LLP
- Partner Denise Grant, counsel Barbara Edwards, associate Alyssa Cowley and international associate Sebastian Fernandez in New York
Counsel to Banco Davivienda, Banco de Bogotá, Banco de Occidente, Banco Popular, Banco AV Villas, Leasing Bancolombia and Bancolombia
- Cárdenas & Cárdenas (now Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas)
- Partner Eduardo Cárdenas and associates Natalia Aulí and Angela Botía in Bogotá
Counsel to Bank of America Merrill Lynch
- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
- Partner Paola Lozano and associate Darryl Hazelwood in New York
- Philippi, Prietocarrizosa & Uría (Colombia)
- Partner Felipe Cuberos and associate Pula Buriticá in Bogotá
This story was updated on 27 October 2015 to include counsel details from Philippi, Prietocarrizosa & Uría (Colombia), Colombian counsel to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
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