Pai Partners is reportedly in pole position to acquire R&R Ice Cream after the group was put on the block late last year.

PAI is one of three private equity firms understood to have gone through to the second round of bidding at the end of January. According to a report in the Financial Times, PAI has submitted the lead bid – but negotations are still ongoing. 

Other group’s understood to be in the running for R&R include Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and PAI Partners

R&R Ice Cream, which has operations across Europe and supplies branded ice cream under licence as well as own-label lines, is 82% owned by Oaktree Capital. Management, including chief executive James Lambert, own the remainder of the business.

PAI was unavailable for comment at time of press, while Oaktree declined to comment on the sale process. 

It is believed that the deal value the business in excess of EUR900m (US$1.2bn).