Cramer & Anderson LLP Completes 20-Year Transaction

With the recent successful conclusion of a simultaneous Lease Termination and new Lease execution, Cramer & Anderson LLP assisted its client in the conclusion of a transaction that lasted nearly twenty years.

The 24-attorney law firm, with offices in Danbury and four locations in Litchfield County, including New Milford, represented the shareholders of Quality Food Oils, Inc., in their 1997 sale of stock to AC Humko Corp., a division of Associated British Foods.

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Cramer & Anderson Partner Mitchell J. Melnick

Attorney Mitchell J. Melnick, the head of Cramer & Anderson’s Corporate and Business Department, was lead counsel for the selling shareholders in that transaction. The Houston, Texas, based multinational law firm, Vinson & Elkins, represented AC Humko. The late attorney James Rylander acted as lead counsel for AC Humko.

As part of the sale of stock, the Quality Food Oils shareholders retained ownership of the property through an affiliate and leased back the more than 73,000 square foot commercial facility for a term of 20 years.

The representation provided by Cramer & Anderson is notable on multiple levels, from the magnitude of the 1997 transaction, which required compliance with federal antitrust laws, to the longevity of the attorney-client relationship, which continues after more than 30 years and spans three generations of the ownership group.

Arthur C. Weinshank, Senior Partner of the firm’s Estate, Trust, Elder Law and Probate Administration Department, started performing legal services for Quality Food Oils in the 1980s. Cramer & Anderson served as the attorneys for the company since that time until the sale of its stock.

In 1997, Quality Food Oils received an offer from AC Humko, initiating a complex stock sale that was structured and negotiated over many months and required notification to the United States Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

During those months, Attorney Melnick, who has an extensive background in mergers and acquisitions, was assisted by other Cramer & Anderson attorneys, including Attorney Weinshank, John Tower and the late David Burke.

In 2000, AC Humko Corp. changed its name to ACH Food Companies, Inc., whose widely recognized brand names include Fleishmann’s Yeast and Mazola oils.

In 2008, ACH Food Companies, formed a joint venture with Archer Daniels Midland called Stratas Foods LLC, which markets itself as “the leading supplier of fats and oils to the Foodservice, Food Ingredients and Retail Private Label markets in North America.”

Stratas operated a plant at the former Quality Food Oils property in New Milford, before shifting the site to a distribution center, and later closing its operations from the facility.

After the closing of the 1997 sale, Attorney Melnick continued to represent the affiliate of the selling shareholders in lease and property issues arising over the 20-year lease term with AC Humko and then Stratas, culminating with the Termination of Lease and New Lease execution for a replacement Tenant in early 2017.

In addition to business transactions, Attorney Melnick also handles general Business, Corporate & Commercial Law matters. He is based in the firm’s New Milford office and may be reached at (860) 355-2631 or by email at mmelnick@crameranderson.com.

Cramer & Anderson also has offices in Danbury, Litchfield, Kent and Washington Depot. For more information, see the Cramer & Anderson website or call the New Milford office at 860-355-2631.

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