CJ Foodville, the restaurant business arm of South Korean conglomerate CJ Group, has received preliminary offers from four private equity investors for its bakery chain division Tous Les Jours.
Four bidders, including JKL Partners, Affirma Capital and a consortium of NH Private Equity and Opus Private Equity, submitted non-binding offers for the chain during the first round of bidding on September 11, industry sources said.
Other private equity firms such as Q Capital Partners and VIG Partners that had been rumored as potential bidders eventually pulled out. KG Group, which operates KFC restaurants in South Korea and is set to acquire IMM Private Equity-owned coffee chain Holly Coffee, also withdrew from the deal, according to sources.
JKL Partners and Affirma Capital are said to believe that the chain has growth potential in the overseas market. They have active blind-pool vehicles and are also in the process of raising new funds. Meanwhile, NH Private Equity and Opus Private Equity are reportedly seeking to team up with a strategic investor to jointly bid for the chain in case they are selected to continue in the process.
CJ Foodville and deal manager Deloitte Anjin are likely to narrow the field of bidders primarily based on the bid price. Potential bidders estimated the value of the chain to be about 200 billion won ($170 million), which can be calculated by multiplying its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization by a multiple of 10 times.
Some industry watchers said the value could be lower than that due to the chain’s limited growth potential at home. Tous Les Jours is the second largest player in the South Korean bakery market with a share of 25%.
However, CJ Foodville reportedly wants about 300 billion won for the unit, given the overall growth potential and a potential reduction in common overhead expenses after separation from the company.
The shortlisted bidders are expected to be announced later this month, which will be followed by the final round of bidding for the chain. (Reporting by Ik-hwan Choi)