Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice are among the private equity firms competing to buy the Flora margarine and Stork butter brands from Unilever (NYSE: UN) at a potential price of £6 billion, according to Reuters. The report comes a few weeks after Unilever was said to have successfully fended off an unsolicited takeover offer from Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ: KHC) in a proposed deal worth some $143 billion.
Global private equity activity in the food products space has experienced a significant increase in recent years. From 2011 to 2013, average annual deal count was about 259, according to the PitchBook Platform; for the three-year period from 2014 to 2016, meanwhile, that figure skyrocketed to 339, including a peak of 372 deals in 2015.
None of the reported Unilever investors, though, have been particularly prolific in the space. Bain Capital has completed eight investments in the industry since the start of 2010, leaving the firm just outside the 25 busiest PE investors in food products over that timeframe. CD&R has completed six deals during the same span, tied for 49th, while CVC’s four investments leave the European firm on the fringes of the top 100.
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