Hong Kong (LAWFUEL) – DLA Piper today announced it has won the Deal Achievement Award of the Year at the Asia M&A Atlas Awards 2008 for advising Heckmann Corporation (Heckmann) on the US$625 million acquisition of China Water and Drinks Inc. (China Water). Originally signed up in April 2008, the deal was successfully completed on 30th October, 2008, spearheaded by Stephen Peepels, Head of DLA Piper’s US Capital Markets practice in Asia, together with Steven Pidgeon, Co-Managing Partner of DLA Piper’s Phoenix office.
The Asia M&A Atlas Awards is one of the region’s leading platforms for recognising novel deals, institutions and achievements of professionals and leaders from the mergers, acquisitions and alternative investing communities in Asia Pacific. Part of the global M&A Atlas Awards, the regional program honours excellence for transactions valued above US$3 million and below US$1 billion.
Mr Peepels accepted the award on 15 October in Shanghai. “Novelty and complexity is what made this deal one of the most challenging and rewarding for myself and the team at DLA Piper. We drew on the best of our deal execution skills and understanding of market complexities to successfully complete one of the most successful SPAC transactions worldwide and the only significant transaction of its kind in China.”
SPACs, or Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, are blank check companies created solely to acquire operating companies with money raised through an IPO. China Water, headquartered in Hong Kong and formerly an OTC Bulletin Board trading company, is a leading PRC licensed bottled water and producer and distribution with distribution of 14 provinces and regions across the Mainland. Following the deal, it now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Heckmann, a SPAC headed by former US Filter CEO, Mr Dick Heckmann. This month, China Water significantly expanded its operations with the acquisition of two bottled water manufacturers in China.
“The Heckmann deal may mark a significant step in restoring confidence in SPAC acquisitions. Over the course of 2008, it has been something of a roller coaster ride for SPACs, with a number of proposed acquisitions failing to gain the required shareholder approval. With the success of this transaction, additional similar acquisitions may follow. Although SPACs have been more popular in the United States, an increasing range of companies in Europe to Asia are considering alternative capital-raising structures to meet their business goals, particularly amid the current financial climate,” added Mr Peepels. “This award is testimony to the fact that we have the expertise and market knowledge to help clients tackle the most novel and sophisticated transactions.”
Alastair Da Costa, Asia Managing Director of DLA Piper said: “This is well-deserved. The team has accomplished a truly unique, high-value transaction making the Heckmann deal a prime example of our multi-jurisdictional capabilities tackling complex M&A deals. In the year ahead – and the market cycle ahead – we’re fully committed to help clients retain their competitive advantage by providing the quality of strategic legal and business counsel that has made the Heckmann deal a success.”