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Ag fund manager tipples into wine investment

Ag fund manager tipples into wine investment

Fadi Khoury

Corrs Chambers Westgarth has advised agricultural fund manager Laguna Bay on its investment in a Margaret River wine group.

Firm: Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Laguna Bay)

Deal: Corrs Chambers Westgarth has advised agricultural fund manager Laguna Bay on its investment into Margaret River Wine Production.

Value: $60 million

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Area: Corporate

Key players: The Corrs team was led by corporate partner Fadi Khoury and supported by special counsel Jaclyn Riley-Smith, senior associate William Lehane and lawyer Magan Goh.

Partner Ben Emblin and special counsel Suzanne Berben also provided assistance.

Deal significance: Laguna Bay is an agricultural fund manager that was founded in 2010 and manages a portfolio of agricultural and agribusiness sector assets, Corrs said.

The firm assisted Laguna Bay Agricultural Fund 1 with its investment into Margaret River Wine Production Pty Ltd (MRWP), and the negotiation of MRWP’s investment in McWilliams Wines Group.

Corrs noted that MRWP is controlled by Peter Fogarty and owns more than a third of the Margaret River region’s total wine production, as well as controlling the Lake’s Folly brand in NSW’s Hunter Valley.

McWilliam’s is an unlisted public company owned by 70 members of the McWilliam family, the firm explained.

Its products and brands include McWilliams and Mount Pleasant, and the group is the sole Australian distributor of global brands including Champagne Taittinger, Mateus, Henkell, and Mionetto.

Lead partner on the advice for Corrs, Fadi Khoury, said “we are proud to have been able to support our longstanding client Laguna Bay’s strategic investment into Australia’s wine industry”.

“A natural extension to its existing portfolio, this investment will allow the wine businesses to leverage Laguna Bay’s asset management capabilities, as well as allow Laguna Bay to continue to grow as Australia’s leading agricultural fund manager,” he noted.

Laguna Bay’s corporate counsel Samantha Bryce said it was a monumental effort by Corrs.

“The team demonstrated outstanding technical legal skills, as well as a deep understanding of our business and the ability to anticipate our needs,” she continued.

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