A SERIES of buyouts by private equity firms of Australian retailers continued as Gresham Private Equity bought out Peter Lew’s Witchery Fashions. Freehills advised Gresham on all aspects of the buy-out. The Sydney Morning Herald said the price could exceed $130 million.
Witchery is one of Australia’s most recognisable fashion brands, while Gresham Private Equity is a specialist in management buyouts. Brendan Earle, a partner in the firm’s Melbourne corporate team, led the sale agreement negotiation, while Sydney corporate partner Damien Hazard, advised on negotiations with management.
As is often the case with this type of transaction, senior managers became shareholders in the business. “Private equity houses like to have an alignment of interests between the private equity fund and the people running the day-to-day business,” Earle said.
The lawyers had to document the basis on which Witchery and the other businesses would continue to provide services for each other for a transitional period. “You try and be too technical about these things and they don’t happen. So we asked the relevant questions, to identify what the shared services were and help untangle them,” Earle said.
Arnold Bloch Leibler acted for P. Lew Investments Pty Ltd.