Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) has advised Billy + Margot Limited (“Billy + Margot”) on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of UK pet food business Benyfit Natural Pet Food Limited (“Benyfit Natural”) from its shareholders, including founders Ben and Greg Van Praagh. The acquisition took effect as of 1 November 2018.
Billy + Margot is part of the international pet food group that trades as the Real Pet Food Company in markets outside the UK (the “RPFC Group”). The RPFC Group has operations in Australia, New Zealand, the US and China, as well as its UK business. Benyfit Natural is a UK-based producer and distributor of raw pet food. Benyfit currently employs more than ten people, who will work alongside the existing Billy + Margot team.
Benyfit Natural co-founder Greg Van Praagh will take on overall responsibility for the management and growth of UK operations, as well as helping support the RPFC Group in its expansion into the frozen food sector in other markets.
The RPFC Group was acquired by a group of Asia Pacific investors in November 2017. The group is led by Hosen Capital, a private equity firm based in Beijing, together with China’s largest private agribusiness enterprise New Hope Group and Singapore investment company Temasek.
The WFW London team advising Billy + Margot was led by Corporate Partner Jan Mellmann, supported by Corporate Partner Mark Tooke on IP matters, Senior Associate Jenny Hodges, Associates Rohan Inamdar and Clementine Freeth and Trainees Alisha Rasul and Ella Vries. Tax advice was provided by Partner Tom Jarvis, Senior Associate David Jacob and Associate Andrew Holland. Real Estate advice was provided by Senior Associate John Rosmini and Associate Rhian Woodend, with Partner Nick Walker and Associate Rachael Davidson leading on planning, environmental and health and safety matters. Senior Associate Anna Robinson and Associate Chris Warwick-Evans advised on employment matters.
Jan commented: “We are delighted to have assisted Billy + Margot on its acquisition of Benyfit Natural, which represents an important step in the RPFC Group’s international growth strategy. That Billy + Margot opted for WFW to advise them on this transaction is testament to the firm’s ability to execute cross-border M&A transactions”.
Germaine Chua, Regional Director of the RPFC Group, said: “This acquisition represents an important step in the RPFC Group’s strategy to continue to grow internationally, with a strong and strategically-aligned brand in the frozen segment that aligns to the group’s category and portfolio strategy. This move will strengthen our position in the pet care market globally. Importantly, it allows us to continue to focus on natural and fresh ranges that are becoming increasingly important to our consumers”.