PARIS, July 17 A consortium led by Paris-based
AXA Private Equity has raised its bid for Elior and is
offering to buy a minority stake in the French caterer, French
daily Les Echos said on Wednesday.
"After a total freeze of the talks, the consortium agreed
last weekend to raise its bid by 250 million euros, which vould
value the group at 3.7 billion euros ($4.9 billion)," the paper
said, citing several sources close to the matter.
AXA Private Equity could not be reached immediately for
The new offer by AXA Private Equity and Canadian pension
fund Caisse de Depot du Quebec would still fall short of the 4
billion euros sought by Elior's main owners, British private
equity group Charterhouse Capital partners and
But it would allow them to continue to receive a share of
the group's profits, since they would retain a 51 percent stake
in the company, the paper said.
Rival private equity groups CVC Capital Partners
and BC Partners, have also raised their joint offer,
which had valued Elior at 3.5 bilion euros, but talks between
these two funds and the sellers were at a standstill, Les Echos
The Financial Times reported in June that Charterhouse was
considering taking Elior public this year after bids received
that month fell short of its 4 billion euro asking price.
However, an initial public offering would be difficult to
pull off this year, given that Elior's fiscal year ends in
September, and could also be complicated by a
weaker-than-expected summer sales season.
Charterhouse bought Elior for 2.5 billion euros in 2006. The
private equity firm owns 62.3 percent, Elior's co-founder Robert
Zolade has 24.7 percent and Chequers Capital 7.8 percent. The
remaining 5.2 percent is owned by other investors.