Private-equity fund BC Partners is mulling the sale of its majority stake in Picard Surgelés – one of several options it is considering for the French frozen foods retailer it acquired in 2004.

“Picard Surgelés is a growing business and several parties have signalled their interest were it ever to be put on to the market,” a BC Partners’ spokesman told just-food today.

“Rothschild has been commissioned to test the waters, field enquiries and provide all the necessary information to enable potential candidates to formulate bids in the event of BC Partners deciding to sell Picard Surgelés.” 

However, the spokesman underlined that it could also choose to hold on to Picard Surgelés or float the company on the stock exchange.

“Each of these options remains a possibility and it’s unlikely that a decision will be taken before September.”     

He declined to comment on the potential buyers cited in the French press or a possible sale price. “This is pure speculation given that no decision has been made by BC Partners on the future of its stake in Picard Surgelés”.

The front-runners according to reports are private-equity firms including Carlyle, Advent, Cinven, Permira and Blackstone, followed by PAI Partners, which owns a 50% stake in Yoplait. 

BC Partners’ asking price for Picard Surgelés would be in the region of EUR1.5bn, the reports added.

Picard Surgelés has over 800 stores, including 28 in Italy.