Partner | Milan
Food and drink are not only essential, but emotive. We help food and beverage companies of all sizes to establish a strong brand and protect it robustly, providing market-savvy advice on issues such as labelling, real estate and health and safety.
So much of our lives are experienced and remembered through food and drink. From families sharing meals at home to foodies sharing exciting restaurant dishes on Instagram, we attach a lot of meaning to what we eat and drink – which makes this a very special business to be in.Perhaps that is why so many brands in the sector are still owned by individuals and families. They pass their passion and know-how down the generations, and are rewarded with a place in their customers’ hearts. ‘Consumers are more ready to trust businesses like ours,’ says Francesco Zoning, whose family have been vintners since 1821 and today export tens of millions of bottles of prosecco each year. ‘We’re seen as genuine and authentic.
Fees for bringing and defending claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal in the employment tribunalCommercial real estate
Our standout commercial property practice helps well-known businesses to grow around the world. We also work with clients from charities to developers to ensure that their deals go smoothly.Commercial litigation
Our highly skilled commercial litigators assist with complex, multi-jurisdictional cases of all kinds. Whether acting for an investor, business or brand, our creative approach gets results.Corporate
We are the go-to law firm for private capital, working hard to help individuals, families, startups, household names and charities to grow their assets and protect their interests around the world.
From small companies to global brands, we understand the dynamics of family businesses and what makes them special. We offer a rounded view on everything from tax to succession planning.International corporate tax
With sector knowledge in finance, technology, retail, real estate, hospitality, fashion and luxury brands, our lawyers can guide you to the most suitable global tax arrangements for your business.Corporate governance
Good governance is more important than ever. Our team offer advice on the regulatory frameworks of different countries where you operate, within the operational context of your business.
With wide industry knowledge and experience, our lawyers will grasp your brand and its context quickly and advise on how best to protect mission-critical intellectual property and data.Residential real estate
We have helped countless individuals and families to acquire and renovate properties around the world. Our goal is always to meet your needs and protect you from unnecessary risk and cost.Immigration
Whether you are an individual, a family or an employer, our lawyers know each country’s systems and speak the local language, helping you to navigate through what can be opaque processes.
We assisted a group of foreign investors with acquiring the largest wine estate and hotel facility in Tuscany, which included corporate due diligence in several jurisdictions and the setting up of the right tax structure for an Italian Special Vehicle company. We continue to assist with further purchases of land for the expansion of the winery.
We advised a UK-based luxury group of private hotels, restaurants, and private members' clubs in the disposition of a majority stake of the company to a US-based investment fund.
We handled employment matters for a high-end vintner, including the development of templates for employee offer letters and confidentiality restraints, and developing managed-risk employee terminations.
We provided guidance to a European winery at every step in the process of establishing its international operations.
Advised an international beer manufacturer on trademark infringement in Singapore.
We provided comprehensive and strategic advice to various leading Italian and French wine producers in connection with entering into international distribution arrangements in the USA, Canada and Northern Europe.
We represented an individual in their investment in a California limited liability company that is in the business of owning, developing and managing citrus groves in California.
We advised a Middle Eastern specialty food start-up on IP and US tax structuring and distribution arrangements for their expansion into the US.
Managed the trademark portfolio of a leading Italian wine manufacturer.
We advised a leading Italian and international wine producer in a joint venture with a leading Italian food brand for the establishment of a chain of wine bars in the US, Europe, and Japan through a combination of owner-managed and franchise units.
We advised a leading European venture capital fund on its minority investment in various US start-up food and beverage companies.
We represented investors investing in a high-end Italian food market chain comprised of restaurants and food stations in New York, Chicago and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
We structured investment by a private equity fund into a leading diet brand and related asset reorganisation to monetise 70% of founder equity.
We managed the trade mark portfolio of a leading Italian wine manufacturer.
A family office, based in Florida, USA, carrying out an underlying investment in the Venezuelan dairy sector sought our advice on the deal.
We acted for the largest hypermarket retailer in the United Kingdom in relation to its real estate acquisition and leasing matters in the PRC.
Formation and private offering of a US micro-venture capital fund focusing on the business-to-business digital marketplace and advice on its investments in three portfolio companies: a platform providing athletes and parents with a suite of online tools to streamline the recruiting process; a platform providing restaurants with a trained food delivery staff and system as well as an app which communicates orders received by restaurants; and a platform that allows manufacturers and distributors in the IT sector to communicate with resellers of their products.
We used our experience of working with entrepreneurs to help the founders of a food business providing goods to UK high-street retailers as they sold their company. Our lawyers assisted with the commercial aspects of the sale to a private equity firm, handling complex UK remittance tax issues and US tax issues. We were also involved in our clients’ reinvestment in a new holding company.
Sometimes our litigators’ biggest successes lie in avoiding litigation. At one stage, it seemed that there was no way for an Italian winemaker we represented to avoid a costly court battle after it terminated its longstanding US importer. However, through careful strategic decisions we were able to ease its transition from working with the US partner to its own recently formed affiliate without seeing the inside of a court room.
With much of our history focused on acting for successful individuals, families and entrepreneurs, we are not afraid to go up against large financial institutions. In one complex case, we acted against one of the largest UK banks in a dispute relating to a loan for the development of a household name supermarket, and the use of an interest rate swap to ‘hedge’ the loan.
Italian company Newlat specialises in distribution for the agro-food sector, offering a large point of sale network across Italy and further abroad. Withers offered advice to Netlat to assist during their acquisition of a manufacturing plant in Ozzano Taro, Italy from Heinz.
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