Autobar sold for €1.2bn to CVC Partners

AUTOBAR, the food and drink vending machine operator, has become the latest asset to be passed between private equity players after CVC Capital Partners paid €1.2bn (£1bn) to take the business from Charterhouse.

CVC will fund the deal with €650m of senior debt from Nomura, BNP Paribas, ING, Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC. Charterhouse is expected to keep an 11 per cent stake in the company after the transaction.

Autobar operates 255,000 vending machines across Europe selling more than 5m drinks every weekday. It had sales of €569m in the year to March, according to a statement by CVC.

It is understood the buyout firm will now attempt to take over Selecta, Autobar’s main competitor, and knock the businesses together to create a group with more than 400,000 vending booths across the continent and revenues of €1.5bn.

Andrew Bristow, Autobar’s chief executive, said CVC and Charterhouse would help to unlock “a significant number of growth opportunities for Autobar in the market today”. CVC managing partner Rob Lucas said the deal would take Autobar to “the next stage” in its development.

CVC was advised by investment bankers at HSBC. Charterhouse was advised by bankers from Rothschild, Nomura and BNP Paribas.

Autobar is the latest in a string of secondary buyouts, whereby private equity houses trade companies between themselves rather than take them from the public markets. Last month Coller Capital gave Lloyds £332m for a 70 per cent stake in its Integrated Finance portfolio, while KKR bought Pets At Home for £955m from Bridgepoint in January.

Private equity dealmakers are sitting on $1 trillion (£628bn) of unspent capital globally, according to data provider Preqin.