Apax goes exclusive for Panrico

Apax Partners is in exclusive negotiations to acquire Spanish bakery products company Panrico for about €900m, Spanish advisory sources said.

The firm beat competition from a handful of other parties, including PAI, CVC, Permira and Mercapital. The sources said that Apax had emerged as the frontrunner on price grounds.

The first bid in the La Caixa and JP Morgan-led auction was from Permira at around €650m. It is widely expected that Apax will secure Panrico on the back of its €900m offer.

The controlling Costafreda family behind Panrico has decided to sell its 53% stake rather than go through a succession battle. The Spanish La Caixa and Banco Sabadell banks, which bought into the company in 2001, are also looking to sell their respective 30% and 5% stakes.

Spain is in fashion as far as the European private equity business is concerned. Apart from the pursuit of Spanish telecom company Auna, a number of firms are circling Spanish fashion retailer Cortefiel. Second round bids have been placed from CVC Capital Partners and a team of Permira and PAI.

Neither bidder raised their respective offers, however. CVC has offered €17.90 per share for Cortefiel, while Permira has offered €18.40 per share. The regulator has set a deadline of July 23 for higher bids to be received. Goldman Sachs is running the auction.

Gonzalo Hinojosa, managing director of Cortefiel, which saw sales of nearly €1bn last year, and his family own 55.74% of the fashion retailer and had agreed to sell its stake to CVC unless a rival offer came in at 8% more than the UK buyout firm’s bid.