Bloomberg News

Permira Said to Weigh Sale of Birds Eye After Approaches

March 26, 2012

Permira Advisers LLP, the private equity firm that owns Hugo Boss, is exploring a sale of Iglo Foods Group Ltd., the company that invented the frozen fish finger, said a person with knowledge of the matter.

Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) is helping the firm evaluate a number of approaches that may lead to a sale, said the person who declined to be identified because the talks are private. The company may fetch as much as 2.9 billion euros ($3.83 billion), according to the Sunday Telegraph, which reported the discussions yesterday.

Permira, based in London, is seeking to return cash to investors as it tries to raise 6.5 billion euros for a new buyout fund. Potential bidders for Iglo include private equity firms Blackstone Group LP (BX), which owns U.S. frozen food maker Pinnacle Foods Finance LLC, and London-based BC Partners Ltd., which owned French frozen food maker Picard Groupe SA, two people familiar with the situation said.

Officials at Permira, Credit Suisse and Blackstone declined to comment. A spokesman for BC Partners couldn’t immediately comment.

Permira bought Iglo, the owner of the Birds Eye brands, from Unilever NV in 2006, and expanded it after purchasing the Dutch consumer goods maker’s Findus operations in Italy in October 2010.

Private equity firms get money from investors including pension plans and endowments with a mandate to spend it within five to six years and return it with a profit after about 10 years. Investors typically wait for distributions from earlier funds before committing again to new pools.

Permira sold part of its stake in Galaxy Entertainment last year, and agreed to sell the animal-feed additives company Provimi to Cargill Inc. This month, it agreed to sell its 51 percent stake in NDS Group Ltd. to Cisco Systems Inc., the largest maker of equipment for computer networks, in a sale that valued the maker of software for pay-TV channels at about $5 billion.

Permira was forced to return money that investors had pledged to its most recent fund during the credit crisis in December 2008. That reduced the fund to 9.6 billion euros from 11.1 billion euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anne-Sylvaine Chassany in London at achassany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net


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