Two leading Am Law 100 firms are advising on Teavana’s $620 million all-cash sale to Starbucks, the biggest deal to date for the world’s largest coffee retailer.
Seattle-based Starbucks announced late Wednesday that it had reached to a deal to acquire Teavana, an Atlanta-based specialty tea retailer founded in 1997. The purchase is the latest in a series of acquisitions by Starbucks, which this summer spent roughly $100 million to buy San Francisco-based Bay Bread, the parent company of popular bakery chain La Boulange.
The Teavana deal comes about a year after Starbucks snagged premium juice maker Evolution Fresh for $30 million from private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, which was represented in the matter by McDermott Will & Emery.
For the Teavana deal, Starbucks turned to a team of lawyers from Cravath, Swaine & Moore led by M&A partners Faiza Saeed and Eric Schiele, tax partner Lauren Angelilli, executive compensation partner Eric Hilfers, real estate partner Kevin Grehan, and environmental partner Matthew Morreale. The firm has previously handled corporate work for Starbucks.
Lucy Lee Helm was named general counsel for Starbucks in May. Helm took over the company’s top in-house post from predecessor Paula Boggs, who announced last year that she would retire and join President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign as a community advocate, according to sibling publication Corporate Counsel.
Robert “Jay” Smith Jr., global cochair of the corporate practice at DLA Piper, and corporate and securities partner Brian Gordon are leading a team from the firm advising Teavana on its proposed sale to Starbucks. DLA has advised Teavana in the past, serving as outside counsel on such matters as the company’s $100 million initial public offering in 2011—an assignment that generated $750,000 in legal fees and expenses, according to an SEC filing at the time.
Teavana’s general counsel is David Christopherson. The company’s sale to Starbucks is expected to close by the end of the year, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.
The merger between Teavana and Starbucks is the latest shakeup in the coffee and tea retail sector.
The Am Law Daily reported last month on the bankruptcy filing by Starbucks competitor Tully’s Coffee, which began Chapter 11 proceedings in Seattle and announced it would close several stores. In July, Cooley and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom grabbed roles on German conglomerate Joh. A. Benckiser’s $974 million acquisition of Starbucks rival Peet’s Coffee & Tea.
And for those who prefer to make their own coffee—Slate spoke this week to a U.S. barista champion about the art of that process—Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has kept its lawyers from Ropes & Gray busy on a series of acquisitions, according to our previous reports.