AVCAL, Australia's peak industry body for private equity and venture capital, held its annual awards ceremony on 19 September and awarded Harbert Australian Private Equity Fund with the Award for ‘Best Expansion Stage’ Deal of the Year for its investment in Emeis Holdings (Aēsop).
The Award also recognised K&L's role as legal advisor to Harbert and the exiting management shareholders.
Harbert invested in Aēsop in 2009 to assist in funding its continued growth. At the closing of the sale of the business in March 2013 to Natura Cosméticos, Harbert made a 4.9 times investment multiple and an internal rate of return of 66 per cent per annum for its investors, with further contingent proceeds expected.
Harbert's managing director Jeremy Steele commented in relation to K&L: “It's great to know that even in the private equity mid-market you can get world class advice”.
John Mann (pictured), private equity/M&A partner in K&L’s Melbourne office, and his team have acted for Harbert on multiple transactions since 2009, including Harbert's initial investment in Aēsop.
“It was a complex transaction involving a financially sophisticated earn out, comprehensive equity restructure, buy back of international distributors, warranty insurance and a sale to South American cosmetic giant Natura Cosméticos,” said Mann.
“The deal could not have been done without the close working relationship and long history our firm has enjoyed with Harbert.”
Mann added: “The team demonstrated its ability to work on complex cross-border private equity transactions and deliver market-leading advice and quality of service.”
In addition to Mann, the K&L deal team included senior associates Nick Dahlstrom, Lauren Blecher and Caroline Carnegie.
Mann also recognised the contributions of other advisors involved in the transaction, including Goldman Sachs, PwC, Herbert Smith Freehills, Lazard, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and KPMG.
Established in Melbourne in 1987, Aēsop’s mission is to create a range of products for the skin, hair and body, using both plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients. Today, Aēsop sells more than 70 products and formulates and develops its own products.