Cheers to Antitrust Work in Contested Glass Company Merger

Cheers to Antitrust Work in Contested Glass Company Merger Photo: Maxim Ahner/iStockphoto.com.

With less than a month before trial, two glass makers and the Federal Trade Commission are on the verge of settling the agency’s suit challenging the companies’ pending $1.7 billion merger—a transaction that’s involved dozens of antitrust lawyers from more than 20 firms.

In July, the FTC filed an administrative complaint alleging that the proposed acquisition of Saint-Gobain Containers Inc. by Ardagh Group S.A.—the second- and third-largest players in the $5 billion glass-container industry—would lead to higher costs and less innovation. Americans use 18 billion glass beer and spirits bottles each year, according to the complaint.

On March 17, the FTC commissioners agreed to withdraw the matter from adjudication “because there is a reasonable possibility of a settlement.”

Ardagh is represented by a team from Shearman & Sterling, including Wayne Dale Collins, Lisl Dunlop, Alan Goudiss, Heather Kafele and Richard Schwed. Saint-Gobain tapped Cravath, Swaine & Moore’s Christine Varney, Yonatan Even, Sandra Goldstein, Rory Leraris, Athena Cheng, Pierre Gemson and Sarah Colombo.

The suit has also been a bonanza for other antitrust lawyers, attracting filings from 22 third-party and nonparty companies with a stake in the outcome.

These include Bacardi USA, which tapped Covington & Burling partner Deb Garza and associate Chinue Turner Richardson, and Anheuser Busch Cos., represented by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s John Seward and James Attridge.

MillerCoors turned to Jones Day partner Peter Love and associate Garrett Liskey, and The Boston Beer Co. Inc. retained Nixon Peabody’s Gordon Lang and Matthew McLaughlin.

Diageo North America, Inc., which makes drinks such as Johnnie Walker scotch whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Guinness Stout, was represented by Hunton & Williams antitrust head D. Bruce Hoffman and associate Stephen Argeris.

Pemod Ricard USA tapped LeClairRyan’s Thomas Butler and Jim Beam Bourbon maker Beam Inc. hired Melinda Levitt and John Landis from Foley & Lardner. Sazerac Co. turned to Howard Morse and Megan Browdie from Cooley.

Constellation Brands, which makes Corona and Modelo beers, hired Joseph Winterscheid, Warren Rosborough and Jennifer Westbrook from McDermott Will & Emery.

Companies that make packaging for the beverage industry also hired top-shelf counsel. These include Crown Holdings Inc., which tapped Dechert partner Paul Friedman and associate Justin Pentz, and Owens-Illinois Inc., which turned to Joseph Tringali, a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Also, Amcor Rigid Plastics USA Inc. retained Foley & Lardner’s H. Holden Brooks; Ball Corp. turned to Nicholas Gaglio of Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider; Arkansas Glass Container Corp. hired Chong Park and Nathaniel Brower of Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Anchor Hocking tapped Dinsmore & Shohl’s Kelly Kauffman.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner Andrea Agathoklis Murino and associate Elyse Dorsey represent Fevisa Industrial, S.A. de C.V. Vitro Packaging turned to Neely Agin, Layne Kruse and Ryan Manns of Fulbright & Jaworski.

The Glass Packaging Institute hired Stephen Paul Mahinka and Jonathan Havens of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

SBA-CCI hired BuckleySandler’s Veena Viswanatha, Piramal Glass USA Inc. turned to Curtis Crowther of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, and Rexam Beverage Can Co. hired Moore & Van Allen’s Alton Gwaltney Ill and Frank Schall. Heaven Hill Distilleries retained David Calhoun of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, The Gambrinus Co. hired Jackson Walker’s Matthew Swantner and Abita Brewing Co. hired Raymond Areaux of Carver, Darden, Koretzky, Tessier, Finn, Blossman & Areaux.

Contact Jenna Greene at jgreene@alm.com.

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