UK sponsors CVC, BC Partners to bid for French catering firm Elior

UK private equity firms CVC Capital Partners Ltd and BC Partners intend to make a joint bid for Elior SCA, valuing the French catering firm at EUR3.5bn (USD4.7bn), including debt, the Financial Times reported citing insiders.

Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP, which currently owns 62.3% of Elior, originally planned to sell only the French firm’s EUR2bn catering unit, but according to knowledgeable sources, it would choose to divest the entire business.

Elior was bought via a EUR2.5bn take-private transaction in 2006. Its co-founder Robert Zolade holds 24.7% of the company, Chequers Capital owns an interest of 7.8%, while several other investors hold the rest of the shares. Elior posted revenues of EUR4.2bn and EBITDA of EUR362m in the fiscal year to 30 September 2012.

Together with its advisors, the vendor is working with banks on a debt package of over EUR2bn (USD2.6bn) to back the purchase of the entire company, the sources said, adding that Charterhouse sought to draw interest from other bidders before launching a formal auction.