UK private equity firm Permira and London consumer sector focused investor Lion Capital are among the bidders for Unilever’s Italian frozen foods business, Findus Italy, according to reports.
The two firms are to put in final offers by the Tuesday deadline, withprivate equity firm BC Partners also rumoured to be in the running.
Findus Italy was formally put up for sale in April this year, and is expected to fetch up to €800m. The sale attracted a great deal of attention from the private equity sector, with PAI, Doughty Hanson and Charterhouse all involved at earlier stages of the bidding, subsequently dropping out.
Permira has already acquired the majority of Unilever’s European frozen food operations, acquiring Iglo Birds Eye Frozen Foods in 2006 for €1.73bn. Lion Capital acquired the Findus Group for £1bn from CapVest as part of its FoodVest slate of acquisitions, and is looking to integrate the Italian division into the holding.
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