Birds Eye owner Iglo has been sold to an investment company for €2.6bn (£1.84bn), private equity backer Permira has confirmed.
The acquisition of Iglo Foods is Nomad Holdings’ anchor investment after floating on the London Stock Exchange last year with the goal of targeting niche consumer foods companies.
Iglo’s CEO Elio Leoni Sceti will also leave the group at the end of June to take the helm at global beauty products manufacturer Coty. He will continue as a non-executive director on Nomad’s board. Bart Becht, Coty’s current interim CEO and chairman, will remain chairman following the transition.
Permira created the Iglo Group in 2006 when it paid Unilever €1.7bn for the Iglo and Birds Eye brands. It has since grown the company into one of the largest frozen food concerns in Europe, recently reporting revenues of €1.5bn and EBITDA of €306m for the 2014 financial year.
“With the backing of the Permira Funds, the company has been able to invest heavily in product innovation and brand marketing, as well as to achieve pan-European scale with the acquisition of Findus Italy in 2010,” said Cheryl Potter, head of Permira’s global consumer team.
“Iglo Group today is the most trusted brand in European frozen food and the fact that it will be the foundational investment in Nomad’s portfolio of market-leading, niche consumer foods companies speaks volumes to the strength of the company, its powerful brands and exciting growth prospects.”
Permira Funds will retain a 9% stake in Nomad Foods Ltd once the deal completes.
Iglo Group owns the Birds Eye brand in the UK and Ireland, Iglo in Germany and other continental European markets and Findus in Italy.
Elio Sceti, Iglo’s departing CEO, added: “The partnership between Iglo Group and the Permira funds has achieved great success. Together we have created a new vision and strategy which has delivered growth in eight out of 12 markets, driven by meaningful innovation which is revitalising consumer interest in frozen food.
“For my part, the last two years at Iglo Group have been hugely fulfilling and I am leaving at a time when I feel that the strategic transformation of the business is largely complete.”
Nomad was listed in April 2014 by US tycoons Martin Franklin and Noam Gottesman and is chaired by former City minister Lord Myners.
Gottesman said: “What people eat and how and when they eat are constantly evolving, making food one of the most resilient yet dynamic categories in the consumer sector. Iglo Group’s strong brands are clear market leaders in frozen food, and the company’s innovative and customer-centric approach, will continue to drive organic growth and superior returns within the industry.
“The group’s scale, cash-generative profile, and experienced management team make it an ideal foundation for us to build up a world-class, global consumer foods company through a prudent M&A strategy.”
The deal will be funded through a combination of cash, equity and proceeds from a private placement of approximately $750m at US$10.50 per ordinary share to a limited group of institutional investors.
Centerview Partners acted as exclusive financial advisor to the Permira funds. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Clifford Chance acted as legal advisors. Barclays and UBS Investment Bank were the financial advisors and Greenberg Traurig acted as legal advisor to Nomad on the transaction.