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EU clears CVC’s Autobar takeover

12 Oct 2010

European Union regulators have cleared CVC’s takeover of Autobar, a Dutch food and drink vending machine operator.

In a deal reported to be worth €1.2bn, the firm has received the greenlight to acquire Autobar parent company Charden International, two months after a sale was agreed from rival firm Charterhouse Partners.

Autobar is one of Europe’s leading vending businesses and, according to CVC, the acquisition is likely to be the first step in a consolidation programme rolled out by the private equity firm over the next five years. The vending company serves around 100,000 customers in 11 European countries with more than 255,000 machines, and made sales of €569m in the year to March 2010.

A possible issue in the takeover could have been CVC’s stake in Leaf International, a manufacturer of confectionary and chewing gum, which could potentially be distributed through Autobar’s vending machines.

However, the Commission ruled that the overlap was not sufficient to preclude authorising the takeover.

“The merged entity would have neither the ability nor the incentive to shut off competitors, because competitors of Autobar in the vending services market will be able to source from alternative suppliers and sugar confectionery and gum make up only for a very small share of total vending sales,” said the commission in a statement.

CVC also looks set to take over Brit Insurance, sponsor of the England cricket team, after the company’s board recommended a bid from the firm alongside Apollo Management.

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