Hong Kong (Lawfuel) – DLA Piper today announced it advised Heckmann Corporation (Heckmann) on its US $625 million acquisition of China Water and Drinks Inc. (China Water). Stephen Peepels, Head of DLA Piper’s US Capital Markets practice in Asia, led the deal with Steven Pidgeon, Co-Managing Partner of DLA Piper’s Phoenix office, providing multi-jurisdictional legal services to facilitate this major cross-border project.
DLA Piper worked together on the deal with Credit Suisse which served as the financial adviser to Heckmann. The acquisition aims to capitalise on the massive potential of what is currently a fragmented and under-served bottled water market in China.
China Water, an OTCBB traded company headquartered in Hong Kong, is a leading PRC licensed bottled water producer and distributor, with distribution in 14 provinces and regions across China. The company principally markets its own bottled water products but also supplies to global beverage companies, including Coca-Cola. China Water will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Heckmann under the leadership of Mr. Dick Heckmann, previously CEO of US Filter, an NYSE listed major global water company prior to its acquisition by Vivendi. Heckmann will fund the acquisition of China Water with cash currently held in trust along with new shares to be issued.
“This is one of the most successful SPAC transactions in quite some time and the only significant transaction of its type in China. This is a very significant deal for both DLA Piper teams in the US and Hong Kong,” said Mr Peepels. At the time they go public, SPACs have no current operations, but rather are investment vehicles, or blank check companies which go public with the intention of merging with or acquiring a company. Mr. Peepels added: “The teams worked around the clock, together with Credit Suisse, to ensure Heckmann had high quality integrated legal and financial counsel, from both sides of the world, at all times.”
This is the second major transaction for DLA Piper involving China Water in the past six months. DLA Piper represented Roth Capital Partners in a Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE) transaction for China Water in late 2007. At the same time Heckmann was conducting a US public offering with Credit Suisse, which raised US $432.9 million.
“The transaction not only spotlights our cross-border capabilities as a truly international legal services provider, but strengthens DLA Piper’s track record as one of the leading advisers in China to foreign investors particularly those with complex financing and legal needs,” said Alastair da Costa, Asia Managing Partner of DLA Piper.
Legal closing of the transaction is expected later this year.