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Permira Rejects Blackstone, BC Partners Iglo Offer-Sources

LONDON--Permira has rejected a EUR2.5 billion bid (about $3.14 billion) for frozen food business Iglo from Blackstone Group (BX) and BC Partners because it came in under the price the buyout owner wanted, people familiar with the situation told Dow Jones Newswires Monday. Permira had put a price tag of between EUR2.8 billion and EUR3 billion on Iglo, which is Europe's leading branded frozen food business both in terms of sales and brand recognition, the people added. 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 advice on a sale of the business. Blackstone and BC Partners decided to team up on a joint bid last week 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. Rival buyout firm PAI Partners withdrew from the auction last month while Thai food group Charoen Pokphand PCL (CPF.TH) was also interested in parts of the company. It didn't submit a formal bid. In the absence of a higher bid from Blackstone and BC Partners--the only bid on the table--Iglo is expected to execute on a consolidation strategy agreed before the sales process was launched and whether under new ownership or not. In particular, the company plans to expand across Europe with an emphasis on Eastern Europe. There has also been speculation that Iglo was interested in buying Findus Group, the U.K.-based frozen food maker owned by Lion Capital with operations in the Nordics and France as well as the U.K. -Write to Marietta Cauchi at [email protected]

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