In February, billionaire investor Warren Buffett made good on his prior claims that he was on the hunt for major acquisitions by announcing that his investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway, had teamed up with private equity firm 3G to purchase H.J. Heinz Company for $28 billion.
On Wednesday, the so-called Oracle of Omaha landed a somewhat smaller prize, as Berkshire announced that it had agreed to pay $2.05 billion to acquire the 20 percent stake in IMC International Metalworking Companies it does not already own. The deal comes some seven years after Buffett paid $5 billion for an 80 percent stake in the Israeli company, which operates a collection of subsidiaries that make a variety of tools and products used in the metalworking industry. Founded by the Wertheimer family—which sold Berkshire both the original 80 percent stake and the stake now changing hands—IMC operates in more than 60 countries.
After striking the deal for Heinz, Buffett said he was still flush with capital and eager for his next large acquisition. And while Wednesday’s transaction pales next to the Heinz acquisition, the deal nonetheless increases IMC’s valuation 64 percent over where it stood when Berkshire first bought into the company in 2006. In a statement announcing that his investment vehicle was taking full control of IMC, Buffett said the increased valuation is a product of the company’s significant growth over the past seven years.
For advice on the deal, Berkshire has again turned to longtime outside counsel Munger, Tolles & Olson. The firm also advised Berkshire on the Heinz deal and on numerous past transactions, including the $9 billion acquisition of chemicals company The Lubrizol Corporation in 2011. Buffett’s closest adviser is Berkshire vice-chairman Charles Munger, a founding partner of Munger who joined the investment firm in 1965, as The Am Law Daily has previously reported.
Los Angeles–based Munger corporate partner Mary Ann Todd—an Am Law Daily "Dealmaker of the Week" in 2011 as a result of her work advising Berkshire on the Lubrizol purchase—is representing Berkshire in connection with the IMC deal.
Attorneys from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, meanwhile, are advising IMC and the Wertheimer family as it exits its ownership of the company. Corporate partner Adam Emmerich is leading the Wachtell team, which also includes tax partner Jodi Schwartz and associates Tijana Dvornic, Lauren Gojkovich, and Edward Lee.
Wachtell also advised IMC on the sale of the initial 80 percent stake to Berkshire in 2006.