CVC committed to Altadis bid

Private equity firm CVC remains fully committed to a bid for tobacco company Altadis, despite the withdrawal of its erstwhile partner PAI.

IFR Buyouts Europe understands that the private equity company’s consortium is bullish on the chances of bringing in other partners to help buy the Franco-Spanish company.

Although the CVC consortium is reluctant to discuss the reasons for PAI’s departure, it is said to have nothing to do with financing or the attractiveness of the target. US private equity firms would find it difficult to buy Altadis because of the latter’s involvement in the tobacco industry and its business in Cuba.

CVC’s consortium would seek local faces to lead the deal. It is understood that this should not be interpreted to mean that whoever replaces PAI has to be based in Spain.

Sources suggested that Unicaja, the Spanish savings bank, is trying to entice counterparts to join CVC’s bid. According to those close to the deal, CVC, which has the backing of Goldman Sachs, Societe Generale, Calyon, HSBC, Caja Madrid, Natexis and Royal Bank of Scotland for its bid, is now trying to include savings banks from the Spanish region of Andalusia.

Bancaja and Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo have declined the offer. Talks with large Spanish investors have also proved unsuccessful.

CVC has presented a non-binding €50 per share offer, which values Altadis at €12.8bn.

Sources close to Imperial, CVC’s rival bidder for Altadis, suggested that its revised bid would be around €50 per share, not €52 as some analysts have suggested.