Permira takes away Telepizza for €850m

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The Independent Online

Private equity giant Permira has secured Spanish fast-food group Telepizza by offering over €120m (£82m) more than its bid rival, CVC.

The final offer - which at €850m is nearly €280m above Permira's original bid - must still be approved by Telepizza's shareholders, but the founding family has given its backing.

The sale will bring to an end a frenetic five months of bidding and counter-bidding between the two buyout rivals. Permira, which earlier this month closed Europe's largest-ever buyout fund at more than €10bn and is also embroiled in the £1bn takeover battle for UK retirement home builder McCarthy & Stone, first announced its €572m takeover offer for Telepizza in February.

It was forced to up its price after CVC and Ibersol, a Portu- guese fast-food operator, entered the bidding. CVC made its approach through Grupo Zena, a company it owns that runs franchises of Burger King and Pizza Hut in Spain. Both CVC and Ibersol have now withdrawn.

The final price has, however, raised questions among private equity professionals as to whether the first offer was exceptionally low or the final bid too high.

Telepizza's founding Ballve family has teamed up with Permira and will vote its 20.5 per cent stake in favour of the offer.

Permira has big ambitions: it is said to have an aggressive expansion plan to craft the company into the Iberian Peninsula's largest independent fast-food group. This includes opening restaurants in smaller villages, and linking up with Guatemala's expanding Pollo Campero chain.