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Subsidiaries in North Korea, Cuba and Iran Complicated Deal

Greenberg Traurig shareholder Donn Beloff led a team of 30 attorneys in 13 countries advising Platform Specialty Products Corp. in its $3.51 billion acquisition of Dublin-based Arysta LifeScience Ltd., a deal complicated by the fact that Arysta had subsidiaries operating in North Korea, Cuba and Iran.

"Those operations were perfectly legitimate, but they were not permitted under U.S. law," Beloff, who is based in Fort Lauderdale, explained. "Our lenders could not lend money to Platform to make an acquisition if the acquisition included operations in any OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) countries."

Arysta, based in Ireland and owned by a private equity fund based in Luxembourg, wasn't subject to U.S. law before the acquisition.

While it was fairly easy to shutter operations in Cuba and North Korea, the acquisition was held up at one point because of licensing issues in Iran and OFAC rules in the United States. Arysta needed an Iranian license to close the company, but U.S. rules prohibited an American company from even getting a license to shut down.

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