CVC acquires Dutch Schuitema

CVC Capital Partners has agreed to pay €950m for a 73.2% stake in Dutch supermarket chain Schuitema NV. The company was sold by Dutch supermarket group Ahold. Ahold will retain an indirect interest of 20% in the business but will not exercise board rights.

Schuitema operates 458 stores under its C-1000 brand. As part of the deal, Ahold will acquire 58 of Schuitema’s C-1000 stores and rebrand them as Albert Heijn. Ahold is also receiving additional real estate and a cash payment of about €185m.

CVC was reluctant to talk about the transaction, although a spokesperson said: “The agreement to acquire Schuitema is a unique market opportunity for CVC. Schuitema is a leading brand name, which demands strong customer recognition and CVC looks forward to help realise the company’s growth potential in the Dutch market.

“Having both the franchisees and management committed to the company’s success will be important in making Schuitema the leading franchise supermarket chain in the Netherlands.”

Following the close of the transaction, expected in the second half of 2008, Schuitema will allow other shareholders to sell their stakes as it seeks a delisting from the Amsterdam bourse.

In a separate announcement, CVC said it had appointed Lorne Somerville to become its new head of telecoms from June. Somerville will join as partner based in CVC’s London office.

Previously, Somerville was the joint global head of telecoms and head of the European communications group at UBS, where for seven years he led the investment banking telecoms team responsible for coverage of telecommunications and media companies in EMEA, and has worked on numerous Vodafone M&A deals.

Lorne also worked at Swisscom as head of its international arm before his stint at UBS. He has held several board positions in the industry, including at Cesky Telecom and Unisource.

CVC is currently investing from CVC Fund IV, CVC Asia II, CVC Tandem Fund and CVC Asia III with an aggregate of US$19bn in equity capital. The current European portfolio totals 39 investments and includes: Formula One, AA/Saga; Cortefiel, one of the largest specialized clothing retailers in Spain; National postal operators Post Danmark and De Post-La Poste; and Seat Pagine Gialle, the leading directories business in Italy.