Alphabeta 4, a company indirectly controlled by Norway-based private-equity firm IK Investment Partners, is poised to start talks with Sagard Private Equity Partners to buy French chilled dough business Cérélia.

The exclusive negotiations to acquire the owner of Croustipate brand are set to begin. No-one at either Sagard or IK was immediately available for comment but a source familiar with the proposed move told just-food a statement on talks getting underway was "imminent."

France's Competition regulator, l'Autorite de la Concurrence, has been alerted of the takeover plans, having issued a filing on its website on 20 May.

According to reports, Cérélia is valued at almost EUR300m. Cérélia makes a range of doughs under its Croustipate brand as well as producing retailer private labels.

The company is the former EuroDough business acquired from Sara Lee in 2012. Based in Liévin, it has five production plants in France.

The company's products are sold in Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the Nordic countries. Around 40 % of its annual turnover of EUR210m is generated outside of France.

During its tenure, Sagard acquired one of Cérélia's main rivals, L'Alsacienne de Pâtes Ménagères.