CVC Capital Lobs €439M Bid For Spanish Olive Oil Co.

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Spanish bottled olive oil company Deoleo SA said Wednesday that British private equity firm CVC Capital Partners had submitted the highest takeover bid for Deoleo, offering €0.38 a share that values the company at €439 million ($605 million).

Deoleo said in a regulatory filing with Spain’s securities regulator Comision Nacional del Mercado de Valores that CVC Capital’s offer was the best among several offers it received for a controlling stake in Deoleo.

The board “decided to proceed to finalise the terms and conditions from today (Thursday) with CVC Capital Partners of the offer at a price of 0.38 euros per share,” the world’s biggest bottled olive oil group said.

The first phase of the takeover would see a purchase of 29.99 per cent of Deoleo’s shares by the British venture capital firm.

Spain supplies about half of the world’s olive oil and the government views Deoleo, which owns brands such as Carbonell and Hojiblanca, as a pivotal player in the export business.

The company’s board backed CVC’s offer over a rival bid from IQ Made in Italy (IQ MIIC), a joint venture between Italian state investment fund FSI and its Qatari counterpart.

Media reports also named US private equity firms Carlyle and Rhone Capital, and France’s PAI Partners, as among seven bidders that put in offers.

Madrid last week said it was worried about foreign investors taking control of Deleo after four Spanish banks said they would put their combined 31.7-per cent stake on the block.

Since then, local media have reported that shareholders, including CaixaBank, Kutxabank, Unicaja and Dcoop, would keep their holdings to ensure that the firm remains Spanish-owned.

“The Spanish government does not want Deoleo to be broken up,” Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Canete said, adding that the government was following developments closely.

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