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Jamie Oliver snags back restaurant franchise

Two of the celebrity chef’s companies have been advised on the buyback of his Italian restaurant business in Australia.

user iconTom Lodewyke 04 May 2017 Corporate Counsel
James Marshall
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Firms: Ashurst (Jamie’s Italian Limited and The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group); Herbert Smith Freehills (receivers and managers of Keystone Group); K&L Gates (administrators of Keystone Group).

Deal: The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group (JORG) bought back Jamie’s Italian Limited (JIL) restaurant business in Australia from Keystone Group.

Value: Undisclosed


Area: M&A; insolvency and restructuring

Key players: Ashurst partner and head of restructuring James Marshall (pictured) led the team advising JIL and JORG. He was assisted by partners David McManus, Jennie Mansfield, Pauline Tan and Jason Cornwall-Jones.

The Herbert Smith Freehills team advising the receivers and managers of Keystone Group was led by partner Paul Apathy, together with partners Mark Currell and Bruce Ramsay. Senior associates Rowena White, Merryn Quayle and Phillip Rattenbury, special counsel Amalia Stone and solicitors Tiffany Cheung, Alex Sher and Marcus Berghouse assisted on the deal.

Deal significance: Keystone Group, the former owner of the JIL restaurant franchise in Australia, entered administration and receivership in July 2016.

JIL and JORG entered an agreement on 31 December 2016 with the receivers and administrators of Keystone Group to buy back the five Jamie’s Italian restaurants and one Trattoria restaurant that make up the Australian JIL franchise.

The transaction hinged on several factors, including the transfer of liquor licences, the transfer of property leases with six institutional landlords, the transfer of employment contracts, including 23 457 visas, and the settlement of certain debts and release of security by the creditors of Keystone Group.

“It has been a pleasure assisting the Jamie Oliver Group to buy back its franchisees caught up in the Keystone Group collapse,” said Ashurst lead partner James Marshall.

“This step has resulted in the saving of many jobs and demonstrates the commitment that the Jamie Oliver Group has to its Australian business and brand.”

The various landlords were advised by MinterEllison, Gadens, Eakin McCaffery Cox, Landerer & Company and Piper Alderman. HWL Ebsworth advised CBA.