PAI Partners has reportedly emerged as the favourite to by UK-based R&R Ice Cream in a deal which could value the company at up to €1bn.
The French private equity firm is currently negotiating with owner Oaktree Capital according to the FT, which did not say where it got the information.
It said rival bidders including the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and buyout firms believed to include Clayton, Dubilier & Rice had dropped out of the race.
Other firms previously reported to be interested included Apax Partners and Bain Capital.
Oaktree took the company private in 2006 for £183m and has since merged it with a number of companies. It currently holds an 82 per cent stake.
The company, which holds about 10 per cent of the UK ice cream market, recorded 2011 turnover of €501m and EBITDA of €66.2m.
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