Investment bank Rothschild has reportedly been hired by Swiss bakery group Aryzta and private-equity firm Lion Capital to advise on the future of Picard, the France-based frozen food retailer in which the two companies are investors.

According to the Irish Independent, Rothschild “will study strategic options, including a possible flotation or sale” for Picard. 

The paper quotes a source telling Reuters that “a mandate was given to Rothschild” and said a second source “confirmed the information and said the bank would now assess the various options available for the chain”. The source added: “There is nothing concrete at this stage. Everything is possible. An IPO is not excluded.”

A spokesperson for Lion Capital told just-food today (27 March) it was making “no comment” on the report. Aryzta has yet to respond to a request by just-food for comment.

Aryzta acquired its minority stake in Picard in 2015. The bakery group has a call option to take full control of Picard and – as recently as September last year – management suggested that while full ownership was dependent on going through certain “stage gates” it remained “very attractive”.

Last month, Aryzta said a strategic review of its joint venture operations had led it to “evaluate investment alternatives” for its 49% stake in French retailer Picard. However, Aryzta said: “Net proceeds of any transaction which may monetise Aryzta’s interest in Picard would be used to strengthen the Aryzta Group’s balance sheet.”

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February’s announcement came as Aryzta announced the resignation of its CEO and CFO, as well as the head of its business in the Americas.