British engineering company IMI said Wednesday it has agreed to sell its beverage dispense and merchandising units to The Marmon Group—a Chicago-based holding company owned in part by investment firm Berkshire Hathaway—in a deal worth $1.1 billion in cash.
The transaction is the latest acquisition by an entity controlled by Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has spoken openly in recent years about his desire to make major purchases. The biggest of Buffett’s recent deals is the $28 billion purchase of H.J. Heinz Company by Berkshire and 3G Capital earlier this year.
In the deal announced Wednesday, Marmon—in which Berkshire holds a 60 percent stake purchased for $4.5 billion in 2007 from Chicago’s Pritzker family—is acquiring two noncore IMI businesses. One of the units changing hands makes beverage dispensers sold to restaurants and other vendors across North America; the other provides companies with merchandising and marketing advice. Marmon plans to fold the acquisitions into its retail technologies division, which already includes businesses that sell products such as automotive parts, shopping carts, and store display cases.
The deal is expected to close early in 2014, pending regulatory approval. Birmingham-based IMI said it expects the transaction to result in a return of roughly $1 billion for its investors.
DLA Piper is advising Marmon on the acquisition with a team led by Chicago-based corporate partner Jason Levin, according to a source with knowledge of the transaction. (A DLA Piper spokesman did not immediately respond to The Am Law Daily‘s request for information regarding the firm’s deal team.) DLA associates Emerich Gutter and Thomas Horenkamp also worked on the matter. Marmon attorney Daniel Hanrahan led the in-house legal team.
Munger, Tolles & Olson generally serves as Berkshire’s go-to outside counsel, advising it on such matters as the Heinz deal earlier this year and the investment vehicle’s 2011 purchase of chemicals company The Lubrizol Corporation for $9 billion.
IMI, meanwhile, has turned to a team of attorneys from Allen & Overy as its outside counsel on the deal. New York–based M&A partner Peter Harwich is leading the firm’s deal team, along with associates LaToya Edwards and Christopher Kelly. London-based corporate partner is leading the A&O team advising on the return of capital to IMI’s shareholders. London-based associates Matthew Appleton and Daniel Ireland are also working on the matter.
John O’Shea, IMI’s company secretary and head of legal, is leading the company’s in-house legal team.