French frozen food retailer Picard will be sold by private-equity firm BC Partners to another fund, Lion Capital.
A consultation period with employee representatives is expected to begin before the end of the week.
Following the completion of the process, BC Partners will be able to enter into a formal agreement with Lion Capital, with completion of the transaction set for the fourth quarter of 2010, pending approval by European competition authorities.
Lion Capital partner Lyndon Lea said: “Picard has established an enviable position within the frozen category by delivering consumers high quality food products with superior taste and nutritional characteristics at attractive price points. Throughout the economic cycle, the company has driven consistently strong financial performance by offering a high quality and convenient alternative to fresh food, underpinned by a strong emphasis on product innovation.”
The company operates outlets throughout Italy and France as well as a delivery service in Barcelona, Belgium, Brussels and Luxembourg. In its most recent fiscal year, the company generated over EUR1.1bn (US$1.42bn) in sales.
Lion Capital is an investment firm which focuses on packaged goods and retail companies. Its previous investments include brands like Weetabix, Findus, Schweppes and Orangina.
The move follows speculation that BC Partners was considering either selling the chain or floating it on the stock exchange.