Hogan Lovells wins European M&A award

European M&A Tax Deal of the Year – Kodak Pension Plan (KPP)

The matter involved the acquisition by the Kodak Pension Plan (the KPP), a UK registered pension scheme, of a US$650 million multi-jurisdictional business as part of arrangements for the settlement of significant liabilities of the pension fund participating employer, Kodak Limited (KL), and its U.S. parent company, Eastman Kodak Company (EKC) to the KPP.

The context was that EKC had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court with the KPP being the largest single creditor at US$2.84 billion.

The acquisition by a pension fund of a significant multi-jurisdictional business is very rare in the UK and simply unheard of in other jurisdictions, including the U.S. Yet contracts were exchanged in April 2013 and substantially completed in September the same year. The KPP acquired EKC's Personalised Imaging business and Document Imaging business (covering more than 30 jurisdictions) as part of arrangements for the settlement of KL and EKC's obligations to the KPP. As a result, EKC emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and the KPP now anticipates being a fully funded plan in due course.

Our tax team worked closely with our colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic to deliver a seamless client service and a pleasing result all around. We won the award jointly with Grant Thornton who also advised the KPP and Sullivan & Cromwell, who advised EKC.

Our work on this matter has also been recognised in other awards, including in February 2014, when our UK Pensions and Benefits team, who along with our U.S. BRI team ran the overall matter, won Employment, Pensions and Benefits Team of the year at the Legal Business Awards. It was also shortlisted for Restructuring Team of the Year by Legal Week British Legal Awards; for Employment and Restructuring Team of the Year Awards by The Lawyer Awards; for Restructuring Team of the Year Award by Financial News Awards and; for the Innovation Award by European Pensions Awards.

London partner Karen Hughes and Washington, D.C. partner Daniel Davidson (along with associates Tom Eyre-Brook and Christine Lane) led the tax team on this matter, which involved a number of other tax lawyers around the globe, including Ingmar Doerr, Roberta Chang and Andy Treavett.

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