White & Case and CMS have advised Mid Europa Partners on the sale of Zabka Polska to funds advised by CVC Capital Partners. Greenberg Traurig advised CVC Capital on the deal, which is the largest ever transaction in the Polish food retail sector and the largest ever private equity exit in Poland.
Zabka Polska is a Polish convenience retailer operating under two brands: Zabka and Freshmarket. According to Greenberg Traurig, "Zabka Polska is among the fastest growing and largest convenience retail chains in Poland, with over 4,500 stores, operating across the country."
Robert Knorr, Co-Managing Partner of Mid Europa and head of its retail and consumer practice, commented: "Our successful exit from Zabka validates Mid Europa's focus on creating value through identifying, growing, and exiting highly attractive retail businesses. Our recent investments in Allegro and Profi reaffirm our continued commitment to the CEE retail landscape. As in Zabka, where we built a clear regional champion with a store network of 4,500 outlets, we will continue supplementing the buy-and-build strategy with strong execution."
Zbigniew Rekusz, a member of the Mid Europa senior team who led the firm's investment into Zabka in 2011 and helped until its exit in 2017 said: "We feel privileged having had the opportunity to work with Zabka management and continue to believe they are excellently placed to lead the company through the next exciting growth cycle ahead."
Pawel Padusinski, Partner and Co-Head of Mid Europa's Warsaw office, who has been involved with Zabka throughout the investment cycle, noted: "Since Mid Europa's acquisition of Zabka, we have increased the pace of the company's organic expansion to over 500 new store openings per annum, we have doubled the size of the network, tripled its revenues, and almost quadrupled its EBITDA. Our key initiatives included the strengthening of the company's relationship with its franchisees and launching a customer-centric commercial strategy aimed at satisfying changing customer needs."
Tomasz Suchanski, the CEO of Zabka commented: "On behalf of the management team, I would like to thank Mid Europa for their stewardship and support over the years in uniquely positioning Zabka to capitalize on the market opportunity in a sustainably profitable manner. We are very excited about the new growth prospects that lie ahead and will continue to strive for excellence for our customers and communities."
The White & Case team was led by London-based Partner Ian Bagshaw and included Partners Ken Barry, Martin Forbes, Peita Menon (all London), Marcin Studniarek (Warsaw) and Mark Powell (Brussels), Local Partner Aneta Hajska (Warsaw), Counsel Peter Lewis (London) and Bartosz Smardzewski (Warsaw), and Associates Ben von Maur, Ivo Cavrak, Hillary Roberts, Glordiola Duli, Oliver Arnott, Nicola Chapman and Paul Harrington (all London).
The Greenberg Traurig team was led by Partner Stephen Horvath from the London Office and Warsaw Local Partner Rafał Baranowski and supported by Warsaw Managing Partner Jaroslaw Grzesiak and Warsaw Senior Partner Lejb Fogelman. They were supported by Senior Associates Maciej Pietrzak (London) and Filip Kijowski (Warsaw) and Associates Tomasz Denko (Warsaw) and Amrik Bhella (London).
CMS's team included Partner Jakub Marcinkowski, Senior Associate Tomasz Waligorski and lawyers Grzegorz Paczek, Jakub Szczygiel, and Mateusz Baszczyk, supported by Senior Associate Michal Derdak and Krzysztof Sikora on competition law matters, Associate Maciej Andrzejewski on employment law matters, Karina Zielinska on IP/IT matters, and Adriana Ciesla, Joanna Pierzchala, and Marcin Pasik on real estate matters.
Editor's Note: After this story was published, CEE Legal Matters learned that Travers Smith also advised the Zabka Polska senior management team. According to Travers Smith, "founded in 1998, Zabka has grown from a single convenience store in Poznan to a country wide network of approximately 4,500 stores, all operated by approximately 3,000 franchisees." The firm's team was led by Senior Partner Chris Hale, supported by Associates Jeremy Dennison and James Sherlock.Image Source: zabkapolska.pl