On May 23, 2001, SA Industrias Votorantim, one of the largest privately owned businesses in South America, announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the Great Lakes current assets of Blue Circle Industries PLC for US$680 million. The transaction is a result of the acceptance by Blue Circle’s shareholders of an offer made by Lafarge SA to acquire control of the company. Both companies are large international cement producers and both have significant operations in Canada. Earlier this year, the Competition Bureau of Canada determined that the combined businesses of the two companies in Ontario raised serious competition concerns and an agreement with Lafarge was reached which required it to dispose of Blue Circle’s Great Lakes assets. These comprise principally the assets of the former St. Mary’s Cement Corporation. It is expected that both the acquisition of Blue Circle by Lafarge and the disposition of the Great Lakes assets of Blue Circle will be completed in the summer of 2001.
Votorantim is being represented in the deal by its international counsel, Shearman & Sterling of New York, and its Canadian counsel, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. Shearman’s team is being led by Richard Aldrich and John Madden, and includes Spencer Klein, George Karafotias, Andrew Noreuil, Mehran Massih and Laurence Bambino. Blakes’ team is led by Tim Unwin and Gordon Currie and includes Ron Richler (tax), Jonathan Kahn (environmental), Jeremy Forgie and Jeff Sommers (pension & benefits), Ted Perlmutter (real estate), Craig Thorburn (competition), Eric Moncik (corporate), Abdul-Basit Khan (labour) and Minami Ganaha (intellectual property). Lafarge SA is represented in Canada by Stikeman Elliott, with a team that includes Lawson Hunter, Q.C., Susan Hutton, Randall Hofley and Sandy Walker (competition and regulatory), Mario Paura and Brenda Hebert (real estate), Karen Jackson, Loreto Grimaldi and Stewart Sutcliffe (corporate), David Finkelstein and Dean Kraus (tax), Lorna Cuthbert and Julie Thibault (pension and benefits) and Larry Cobb and Aaron Atcheson (environmental). In the United States, Lafarge SA was represented by Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton’s Laurent Alpert, Susan Devenyi, Jonathan Barnett and Brandon Gardner.