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Latham & Watkins represented China’s state-owned Bright Food Group in connection with its acquisition of a 75% stake in Manassen Foods from CHAMP Private Equity for a total consideration of over US$516 million. Latham also advised Bright Food Group on the offshore financing facility for funding the acquisition. The facility size is approximately US$315 million. Manassen Foods is a privately owned company based in Australia, whose global brands include Albatros bread, Harringtons chocolate, Jelly Belly sweets and Walkers shortbread biscuits. The transaction, which is currently subject to regulatory approvals including the Australian Foreign Institute Review Board and Chinese regulatory bodies, is expected to close by the end of December 2011. Upon the completion of this transaction, Bright Food Group will have further grown its overseas food businesses across Asia-Pacific. The acquisition will also enable Manassen Foods to take advantage of Bright Food Group’s Asian distribution network to grow and also expand in Australia. In addition to this acquisition, Latham has advised Bright Food Group on a number of acquisitions in the past few years, which have included its acquisition of a 60% stake in Yunnan Yinmore Sugar Company, a Cayman Islands company with extensive sugar assets in China, and its proposed bids to acquire US-based vitamin and supplement chain retailer GNC Holdings and UK-based food manufacturer United Biscuits. The Latham team working on the transaction was led by Shanghai partner Rowland Cheng and counsel Karen Yan, along with associate Julia Dai, consultant Vincent Jiang and Hong Kong associate Jacqueline Zheng.
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