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April 23, 2012 4:03 PM

Mayer Brown Helps Nestle Whip Up $11.9 Billion Baby Formula Deal

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said Monday that it has agreed to sell its infant formula business to Nestle in an $11.9 billion deal that will give the Swiss food company a bigger foothold in China and other emerging markets. 

Nestle will pay cash to acquire a business unit estimated to take in $2.5 billion in revenue this year, with 85 percent of sales coming from emerging markets.

Nestle, the world's largest packaged foods company, already markets such popular infant food brands as Gerber and Nan. Nestle will be adding Pfizer operations in the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, according to The New York Times.

The Times notes that Nestle beat out French dairy giant Danone for the business, which Pfizer acquired as part of its 2009 takeover of Wyeth. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2013, pending regulatory approval.

For representation on the transaction, Nestle has turned to a Mayer Brown deal team led by M&A partners David Carpenter and John Boelter in New York and Chicago. Chicago-based intellectual property partner Richard Assmus and tax partners James Barry and Lee Morlock, are also advising Nestle. Hong Kong–based M&A partner Mark Uhrynuk is also advising on the deal, while Washington, D.C. partners John Roberti and Adrian Steel are providing antitrust counsel.

Mayer Brown advised Nestle in connection with its acquisition of Gerber from Novartis in a $5.5 billion deal in 2007.

Three firms are advising New York–based Pfizer on the matter. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Clifford Chance, and DLA Piper all landed roles for the company. Skadden attorneys working on the deal include M&A partners Paul Schnell and Kenneth Wolff, as well as tax partner Sally Thurston and intellectual property and technology partner Jose Estevez.

The names of partners working on the matter at Clifford Chance and DLA Piper were not immediately available.

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