AXA Private Equity picks JP Morgan to advise on €1bn-plus Diana exit


pet food5_sqParis-based buyout firm AXA Private Equity is reportedly preparing to exit French natural ingredient maker Diana in a deal which could cost more than €1bn.

The firm is in talks to shift the asset it picked up in a €710m deal in 2007 and has hired JP Morgan to finalise a mandate to advise on the debt rating and sale, Reuters reported.

It cited people with knowledge of the matter. Bloomberg reported the firm was targeting an exit of Diana in May this year.

Private equity firms including Blackstone, BC Partners, Cinven, Charterhouse and PAI Partners are planning to submit indicative bids given the paucity of quality buyout options in Europe, it added.

Diana produces and sells natural ingredients used in the pet food, human food and beverages and pharmaceutical industries.

It is the market leader in flavours for pet food, employs more than 1,000 people and has 17 plants in Europe, US, Latin America and Australia.

Last November AXA backed Diana’s acquisition of Givaudan’s vegetables, wines and vinegars extracts range – the company’s fourth bolt-on since June the same year.

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