Private-equity firm PAI Partners is reportedly in talks with investors for a new fund to house its 50% stake in its Froneri ice cream joint venture with Nestlé.

Bloomberg has reported PAI is working with baking advisers over the possible move.

In January, the news agency reported the Paris-based private-equity firm was in the early stages of assessing options for the disposal of its interest in Froneri, citing people familiar with the proceedings.

Now Bloomberg, again citing unnamed sources, says PAI is in talks with investors, including sovereign wealth funds, that might back a new continuation fund.

Bloomberg’s sources suggest a deal could value PAI’s portion of Froneri at about $10bn.

The UK-based Froneri business, which includes the Nuui brands and deals under licence with the likes of Mondelez, was established in 2016. It sits in PAI’s Continuation Fund V, which was launched in 2019.

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Bloomberg pointed out buyout firms have increasingly turned to continuation vehicles to deal with a backlog of unsold investments as dealmaking has slowed over the past couple of years.

It said moving assets from older funds into a new vehicle, enables them to hold on to their portfolio companies for longer than the typical investment cycle.

Its sources said talks could potentially lead to a sale of a minority stake sale in Froneri.

PAI declined to comment when contacted by Just Food.

Nestlé also said it had no comment.

PAI bought UK-based R&R Ice Cream in 2013 from Oaktree Capital Management and other investors. Three years later, it combined that business with parts of Nestlé’s ice cream empire to create Froneri.

The Froneri transaction combined Nestlé’s and R&R’s ice cream operations in Europe, the Middle East, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the Philippines and South Africa. While the US and Israel were not included in 2016, three years later the latter was also pulled under the Froneri umbrella.

Nestlé then sold its US ice-cream operations the same year – 2019 – to Froneri.

The world’s largest food company retained its ice-cream business in Canada, Latin America and Asia.