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Teamwork And Experience Key To Expanding Global Footprint


A manufacturer with domestic and international distribution systems was looking for a way to take advantage of the historically low value of the dollar against foreign currencies by quick expansion of its international distribution network. The company also needed a means to finance its expanded inventory cycle without additional borrowing. The solution: find a strategic partner with distribution and financial muscle, as well as a compatible corporate culture.

After indentifying a suitable potential joint venture partner and negotiating the business concepts that would be key components of the deal, the company asked for Baker Donelson's assistance in making the transaction a reality. Baker Donelson assembled a team of lawyers with experience in the core governance, lending, tax, intellectual property, antitrust, international trade and distribution issues involved in the two-way trade and financial transaction. The team's first task was to help the client fashion a letter of intent covering the major business and legal points of the transaction. Because of the internal approval processes on both sides, this was a key first step in the transaction.

Once the letter of intent was signed, the client and the Baker Donelson team went to work crafting the necessary documents for the transaction. This required working with the other party and its counsel to arrive at a contractual framework that addressed the broad parameters of this heavily nuanced relationship. The consensus building approach among the joint venture partner's business units produced an elongated and often unpredictable negotiating process, with conference calls before and after U.S. business hours to accommodate time zone differences. Dividing the work among the legal team members based on area of experience allowed the negotiations and documents to move forward rapidly on several fronts simultaneously. The team leader coordinated the work to assure that the complex puzzle pieces fit together and the work was done efficiently. This team of experienced legal professionals and the client were able to identify and answer hard questions, which in turn produced the creative contractual solutions necessary to harmonize two divergent corporate cultures. The resulting long-term arrangement was ideally suited to meet the client's business objectives while protecting its assets, culture, brand and values.

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