Birds Eye sale set to be frozen as Permira hunts for growth

PRIVATE equity house Permira could call a halt to the sale of frozen foods maker Iglo after deciding a €2.5bn (£2.01bn) joint bid from Blackstone and BC Partners had come in short.

Permira is happy to retain and continue to grow Iglo, which it bought from Unilever in 2006 for €1.7bn before bolting on Findus Italy four years later.

It is now considering a debt refinancing to raise funds that would allow it to pay itself a dividend, according to sources.

Blackstone and BC are now thought to be working on a higher offer for the maker of Birds Eye fish fingers. The last two bidders teamed up last week to table a final €2.5bn offer.

The two firms were seeking to share the large equity investment and put pressure on Permira to accept a lower price, analysts said.

Permira, which declined to comment, put the business up for sale earlier this year looking for at least €2.8bn.