Gilbert + Tobin has advised Coca-Cola Amatil (Amatil) on the joint acquisition by Amatil and its major shareholder, US-based The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC), of a 45% equity stake in Made Group, an independent Australian beverage manufacturer known for its leading brands NutrientWater, Cocobella, Rokeby Farms and Impressed.  The transaction has created an innovative ownership structure, which has significant benefits for the parties.

G+T advised Amatil on all aspects of the transaction, including the legal framework of the minority equity stake transaction structure. The innovative ownership structure resulting from the deal means that, while Amatil and TCCC now have two board seats as part of their investment, Amatil and TCCC intend that Made Group will continue to operate independently with the assistance of Amatil and TCCC to expand the Group’s product distribution and increase its market reach.

The transaction is in line with Amatil’s Accelerated Australian Growth Plan previously announced to the market, which aims to increase the company’s innovation and performance in emerging product categories and growth markets, while also exploring acquisitions that fit within its existing product portfolios. The investment fits within Amatil’s goal of transforming into a total beverage company, with a far broader range of products than just its core soft-drink brands.

Corporate Advisory Partner John Williamson-Noble led the G+T team, with support from lawyer Chris Morse and Consultant Jill Cooper. Competition, Consumer + Market Regulation Partner Paula Gilardoni and lawyer Andrew Low advised on the competition law aspects of the deal.

John Williamson-Noble said he was pleased with the successful outcome of the deal, which will be mutually beneficial for Amatil, TCCC and Made Group.

“This transaction is another example of G+T’s expertise in advising clients in complex acquisitions with innovative ownership structures. Our team is committed to working with clients to support their strategic long-term plans for growth. The acquisition of a stake in Made Group is a great result for Coca-Cola Amatil, and we look forward to working with them as they continue to realise their vision for the business in the years to come,” Williamson-Noble said.