Equistone fancies French pudding maker

Michael Bow
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EQUISTONE, the private equity house founded by ex-Barclays buyout executives, has taken a bite out of a French luxury pudding maker that supplies tasty treats to M&S and McDonalds.

The outfit, led by managing partner Guillaume Jacqueau, has bought a majority stake in French dessert conglomerate Europeenne des Desserts (EDD) for an undisclosed sum.

The deal is the second time this year Equistone has taken a stake in the dessert market, having bought fruit pudding maker Charles & Alice in August.

EDD, which is comprised of five different divisions, includes a UK manufacturing unit based in Northamptonshire called Speciality Desserts, which it bought in May last year.

One of the four French units, Martine, has a contract to supply desserts to Marks & Spencer and McCafe, the coffee house chain of McDonalds popular in continental Europe.

The stake is being acquired from CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital, two French investment houses, which backed a management buyout of the company in 2009.

The group started life as Martine in 1984 before being bought by the UK’s Premier Foods in 1998.

Jacqueau said: “With its focus on the highest levels of quality and innovation, (EDD) has confirmed its position as the frozen bakery leader in France.”

Equistone used money from its €1.5bn fund IV and a portion of debt to help buy the company.