The sale of Fonterra by Soprole will provide the New Zealand cooperative with a recovery of nearly $640 million. After nearly 30 years in the business and several months of negotiations to leave Chile, Fonterra on Thursday agreed to sell Soprole to the Gloria Group, a diversified Peruvian conglomerate with companies in the milk, sugar, cement and agribusinesses.
To achieve this goal, Fonterra started a sales process for its unit in Chile almost a year ago. And to do so, it hired an international financial advisor, the investment bank JP Morgan, who worked out a long-term trajectory in which it invited numerous local and global players.
Four actors reached the final stage, DF published a few weeks ago: the Peruvian group Gloria, the French Lactalis, the Canadian Saputo and a company of Chinese origin. But previously there was at least one Chilean concern that would have been interested in Soprole: the Carozzi holding. The presence of other Chileans was difficult: any food company, such as Agrosuper or CCU, for example, could have delayed the closure of the company due to the anti-competitive analysis that the National Economic Prosecutor’s Office had to conduct.
The international group closest to Chile was the winner: Gloria, a group that had already joined in 2020 with one of its other companies by buying 19% of Cementos Bio Bio. In dealings with Fonterra, Gloria was advised by the investment bank Tyndall, made up of former JP Morgan executives and founded by John Ignatius Langlois, Danilo Radovic and Raimundo Lira. So to negotiate with JP Morgan, Gloria sought out other former JP Morgans.
On the legal side, Gloria worked with several law firms. In Chile, they were advised by Claro y Cia, in a team led by the partner Felipe LarainM&A specialist, partner of Claro since 2008 and consisting of the tax partner Nicholas Maturanaadvise Philippa Cooper and employee Alberto Eguiguren.
In addition, the Peruvian group was advised by New Zealand law firm Simpson Grierson and Gloria’s general counsel, Fernando Devoto, worked from Peru.
Fonterra worked with two studios. In New Zealand he was supported by el butefe Minter Ellison Legal Group, one of the major legal actors of that country. And in Chile, Cariola Diez Pérez Cotapos was the studio. A partner in that investigation is Gerardo Varela, former education minister and director of companies, who was a director and president of Soprole Inversiones, for which reason he was unable to participate in the transaction.
Thus, the legal team was led by Andrea Saffie, a lawyer from the University of Chile who joined Cariola in 2008 and has been a partner of the firm for two years. The lawyer has been deputy director of Soprole since 2020. Saffie worked on the transaction with José Manuel Donoso, who advises clients on corporate law and free competition, and joined the firm in 2014.