Miguel A. Moisés, José Ignacio Rivero and Ricardo Calderón

Several firms in stake acquisition of Baja Aqua-Farms

Several firms have advised on the acquisition of a majority stake in Baja Aqua Farms (BAF) and its subsidiaries, in favour of Cultiba Aqua (a subsidiary of Organización Cultiba), together with affiliated entities of Continental Grain Company, Equity Group Investments and Castle Harlan (collectively the “Consortium”).

This transaction was closed on 30 December and involved the jurisdictions of Mexico, USA and Japan. Through this acquisition, the Consortium will provide BAF with strategic support and additional capital to meet growing demand in the sector.

Banco Santander Mexico and HSBC Mexico acted as structuring agents, joint bookrunners and lenders in the two-tranche financing granted to the Consortium. In addition, Organización Cultiba contributed approximately US$40 million of its own resources and acquired a minority position in BAF through the Consortium.

Participating firms included Ritch Mueller, as representatives of Consorcio as investor in Mexico; Gonzalez Calvillo, as Mexican counsel to the sellers and BAF; Vedder Price as New York counsel to the purchasers; Greenberg Traurig, as Mexican counsel to the lenders; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, as New York counsel to Continental Grain Company; DLA Piper, as New York counsel to Equity Group Investments; Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton as New York counsel to the sellers and BAF; and Bufete Sánchez Navarro, as Labour counsel to the buyers.

The legally required regulatory approvals were obtained to complete the transaction.

Baja Aqua-Farms is a bluefin tuna production and marketing company based in Baja California, Mexico. BAF focuses on the super premium market with fresh bluefin tuna fed on its own farms in the most natural way, using a specialised sardine fleet. It distributes its product worldwide, mainly in the USA, Japan and Mexico where its major customers are high-end restaurants and hotels.

Greenberg Traurig’s team included partner Miguel A. Moisés (pictured left), and associate Paulina Garcia de Leon.

Gonzalez Calvillo’s team comprised partner José Ignacio Rivero (pictured centre), senior associate Jerónimo R., associates Rodrigo Poumian and Héctor Ferrari Ruiz, and law clerk Pablo Suárez.

Ritch Mueller’s team was led by partner Ricardo Calderón Mendoza (pictured right), with support from lawyers Brenda Rogel Salgado, Santiago Llano Zapatero, James E. Ritch, Eduardo Aiza Vaudrecourt, Luis Miguel Posadas Yáñez, David Guakil Raffoul, Javier Camacho Piedra, Tito Alejandro Martínez Mendoza, Sara Hardy, Marcelle Cohen Shehoah and Julia Fuentes Andersson.

L Giselle Estrada