Private equity fund BC Partners is in exclusive negotiations to acquire Picard Surgelés, France's leading high quality frozen foods retailer, for €1.3bn (US$1.6bn), French newspaper Le Figaro reports.

Picard Surgelés was acquired by a consortium of investors led by Candover from French retailer Carrefour in 2001 for €920m.

The company has a total of 569 sales outlets in France and 45 in Italy.

Other investment funds, such as PAI, KKR, Cinven and Eurazeo, were also thought to have Picard Surgelés in their sights.