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S&R, Wadhwa, Satvik Varma end McDonald’s India 6-year McClusterFudge vs Vikram Bakshi with settlement, nice words, buy-out, with SAM

Global fast-food giant McDonald’s has finally managed to regain control of its North Indian operations, which had been plagued by its protracted six-year battle with North Indian joint-venture ‘partner’ Connaught Plaza Restaurants Restaurants Private Limited, owned by businessman Vikram Bakshi, as reported by Mint and others.

S&R Associates represented McDonald’s India Private Limited, led by partners Rajat Sethi, Niti Dixit and Mohit Gogia, with associates Jagriti Mohata, Raunak Mathur and Prateek Sharma.

Wadhwa Law Chambers advised Vikram Bakshi, led by partner Anirudh Wadhwa.

Wadhwa had also instructed counsel Satvik Varma, to lead on the transaction, and senior counsel Akhil Sibal to advise on the litigation strategy and overall settlement process.

McDonald India’s in-house legal team on the deal and negotiations consisted of I-Ming Ang, Vivek Kumar and Sumit Chopra.

As part of the settlement, McDonald’s has now acquired the 50% of equity shares in Connaught Plaza controlled by Bakshi.

The settlement marks the end of a drawn-out process against Bakshi by McD’s, which in September 2017 had approached the Delhi high court (also advised by S&R Associates, together with Dua Associates and senior counsel Harish Salve) to enforce a London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) partial award over valuation of Bakshi’s stake. This was in addition to parallel NCLAT (National Company Law Appellate Tribunal) proceedings and negotiations.

Bakshi had back then instructed Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (and senior counsel Ciccu Mukhopadhaya).

A team headed by Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas partner Tejas Karia has continued acting for Bakshi before the NCLT, LCIA and Delhi high court up until the settlement.

Since the start of the dispute to date, Bakshi and Connaught Plaza had continued operating the North Indian McDonalds restaurants, despite McDonald’s’ repeated attempts to oust Bakshi, having been effectively cut off from official supplies and branding by the fast-food giant.

McDonald’s has now closed Connaught Plaza’s restaurants, presumably to redecorate and resupply them in accordance with the golden arches’ house style.

According to a joint press release, “McDonald’s acknowledges the significant work and contribution of Bakshi in establishing McDonald’s restaurants in North and East India” (which had been set up under joint venture in 1996), while McDonald’s new head of Connaught Plaza Robert Hunghanfoo added: “We wish him well as he embarks on the next phase of his life and career.”

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