Liner LLP represented The Oppenheimer Group (Oppy) as it entered into a strategic partnership linking Total Produce plc and Oppy with New Zealand-based T&G Global Limited (T&G) in an unprecedented global supply chain for fresh produce. Corporate and tax partner Afshin Beyzaee oversaw the team in handling complex legal and tax matters spanning several jurisdictions.
On the heels of Total Produce increasing its interest in Oppy from 35% to 65%, Oppy purchased 50% of Delica North America Inc., T&G’s U.S.-based export business. At the same time, T&G increased its ownership in Oppy’s U.S. subsidiary, David Oppenheimer and Company from 15% to 39.4%, while also entering into strategically-important agreements with Oppy that will enable both to enhance their market positions as co-shareholders in two US produce businesses.
Together, the three companies jointly operate in North and South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and throughout Europe.
John Anderson, who will continue to head Oppy as Chairman, President and CEO, said, “The Liner team did a wonderful job bringing together all of the pieces of this multifaceted transaction. We greatly appreciate the skill, expertise, and attention they brought to this matter.”
According to Beyzaee, aligning the different approaches of the parties to transactions was the most challenging task. “The culture and practice for doing a deal varies significantly across countries. So, even in a deal like this where everyone literally speaks the same language, you have different understandings of concepts and ways of addressing issues that you need to weave together.”
Started in 1858 as a food and supply outpost for gold seekers in British Columbia, The Oppenheimer Group has grown to be one of North America’s leading fresh produce, sales, marketing and distribution companies. Oppy has enjoyed a relationship with T&G since the early days of New Zealand fruit exports to North America in 1956 and was first welcomed to the Total Produce family in 2013.
Based in Dublin, Ireland and operating out of 138 facilities across some 26 countries, Total Produce is one of the world’s premier fresh produce provider. Growing, sourcing, importing, packaging, distributing and marketing over 200 lines of fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers, the Total Produce group annually distributes over 350 million cartons of fresh produce to the retail, wholesale, foodservice and processing sectors across Europe and North America.
Headquartered in Auckland, and with offices in 12 countries around the world, T&G Global is New Zealand’s largest grower, packer, distributor, trader, marketer and exporter of fresh produce by volume. The group owns extensive intellectual property and is particularly known for its premium apples and pears which are sold globally under its owned brands which include “Jazz”, “Envy”, and “Pacific Rose”. T&G Global’s majority shareholder is BayWa AG which is listed on the Frankfurt and Munich stock exchanges.
Beyzaee, who provided the corporate and tax expertise on the transaction, was joined by Mitchell Regenstreif and David Parsly in advising Oppy.