Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has advised Laguna Bay on its A$60 million (approx) investment in Australia’s renowned wine businesses, Margaret River Wine Production, and consequently, McWilliam’s Wines Group.
Laguna Bay is an Australian agricultural fund manager founded in 2010. It currently manages a portfolio of agricultural and agribusiness sector assets, and has investment mandates with pension and other institutional investors.
Corrs assisted Laguna Bay Agricultural Fund 1 (Laguna Bay) with its investment into Margaret River Wine Production Pty Ltd (MRWP), and negotiation of MRWP’s investment in McWilliams Wines Group. MRWP, controlled by Western Australian businessman Peter Fogarty, owns more than one-third of the Margaret River region's total wine production, and also controls the Lake's Folly brand in NSW's Hunter Valley.
McWilliam’s is an unlisted public company owned by 70 McWilliam’s family members with a history dating back to 1877. It is Australia’s sixth largest wine company and has an extensive product range marketed under a portfolio of owned brands including McWilliams and Mount Pleasant. McWilliams is also the sole Australian distributor for prominent global brands Champagne Taittinger, Mateus, Henkell and Mionetto.
Corrs lead Partner on the matter, 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.”
Samantha Bryce, Corporate Counsel of Laguna Bay, 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.”
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, with assistance from Corrs Partner Ben Emblin (Restructuring, Insolvency and Special Situations) and Special Counsel Suzanne Berben.