This article was first published on 27th September 2019
Fladgate was delighted to advise the corporate ventures arm of Ocado Group, the world-leading online grocer and developer of innovative infrastructure solutions on its partnership and investment in Infinite Acres, a full-service solution provider for indoor farming.
Infinite Acres sees Ocado Ventures partnering with the Cincinnati, Ohio-based indoor farming specialist 80 Acres Farms and the Netherlands-based agritech specialist Priva, each of which will bring its complementary expertise to the venture.
The newly formed joint venture will develop turnkey indoor farming solutions for sale to customers who wish to farm and harvest high quality produce in or around urban centres worldwide, in an environmentally controlled manner.
Discussing the joint venture, Stewart McGuire, Ocado’s head of corporate development, said: "Ocado Group is delighted to be part of the Infinite Acres joint venture, which will bring together unprecedented and complementary expertise in vertical farming. The future is about great tasting food, sustainably produced. Infinite Acres, supported by Ocado's technology, will be an important catalyst in making this happen."
Corporate partner, Jamie Hamilton, who led the Fladgate team, commented: “Fladgate drew on the expertise of its specialist teams and on its international network to enable a smooth completion of a complex cross-border transaction. We are immensely proud to have been involved in what we hope will be a groundbreaking venture in terms of revolutionising the way in which the world grows food.”
Commercial/IP partner, Eddie Powell said: “80 Acres, Priva and Ocado bring highly relevant and complementary expertise and IP to this collaboration. Negotiating a way to ensure that these contributions fit within the context of the parties’ other business activities has been a fascinating challenge and we are delighted to have helped Ocado to find a solution”.
Eddie and Jamie were supported by competition partner Alex Haffner, finance partner Luke Morris, and tax partner Hamilton Forrest. The Amsterdam law firm Orange Clover advised Ocado in respect of Netherlands law aspects, led by Pien Van Veersen and Sierd Spithoven.
The transaction also involved substantial input from Ocado’s in-house team, in particular Lucy Wojcik, Head of IP and Jonathan Wiseman, Deputy General Counsel.