-- Blackstone, BC to team up in bid for Iglo
-- Pair plan to put in joint bid later Thursday
-- Buyout companies were previously rival bidders
LONDON--Buyout companies Blackstone Group L.P. and BC Partners will submit a joint bid for Europe's largest frozen-food company, privately-owned Iglo, in time for a Thursday deadline, people familiar with the matter said.
The two groups have decided to team up after earlier having been in competition to buy the company, which makes frozen food in the Captain Birds Eye range, such as staples like fish fingers and the Bake to Perfection food range. It's unclear if there are now any additional bidders for the asset.
Permira bought Iglo from Unilever PLC (UL) for EUR1.7 billion in 2006, and in July 2010 recombined its Birds Eye unit with Unilever's other frozen-food business, Findus Italy, in a GBP675 million deal. Earlier this year, it hired Credit Suisse Group AG (CS) to advise on a sale of the business.
At various points in the sale process other bidders have included Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand PCL (CPF.TH), Clayton Dubilier & Rice Inc and Bain Capital LLC.
Press reports have suggested that some banks balked at providing debt for the Iglo deal due to current credit market conditions in Europe, and that the offer from Blackstone and BC Partners is likely to come in below Permira's price expectations of between EUR2.5 billion and EUR2.6 billion.
Permira declined to comment on the reports.
A person familiar with the matter said that if the Blackstone and BC Partners offer isn't attractive enough, Permira will abandon the sale.
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