BC Partners agrees supermarket exit

The UK buyout firm will sell a subsidiary of Migros Ticaret for $380m after purchasing the Turkish supermarket chain for $3.2bn in 2008.

BC Partners has agreed to sell Turkish discount supermarket Sok to the Ulker Group, a Turkish food company, for $380 million, the UK buyout firm announced in a statement Friday. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, pending approval of Turkey’s Competition Board.

BC purchased a 50.8 percent stake in Sok’s parent company, Turkish supermarket chain Migros Ticaret, through its €5.5 billion eighth fund in February 2008. The $3.25 billion LBO was reportedly the largest in the country’s history. BC followed up the acquisition by acquiring an additional 47 percent of Migros shares.

Turkish private equity firm Turkven and Italian investment firm DeA Capital served as minority shareholders in the deal.

Sok expanded rapidly following the acquisition, increasing its number of stores from 460 in 2008 to 1,230 in 2011.

Proceeds from the sale will go toward the repayment of Migros debt with the remainder to be reinvested in Migros supermarkets.

In April, BC reportedly placed 31 million Migros shares, a 17 percent stake, on the Istanbul Stock Exchange for TL 25.00 ($15.86, €10.97) per share. Despite the recent shedding of Migros portfolio assets, a source close to the sale said that BC has no plans of fully exiting. Instead, the firm will opt to focus on improving the core Migros supermarket chain.

BC began fundraising for its ninth fund, targeting €6 billion, in September. The fund had already raised €4 billion as of March, sources close to firm said.

Food and food retail companies have been one of the firms core sectors of interest in recent years, a source close to the firm said. Last year, the firm sold French frozen food company Picard Surgelés to Lion Capital for a reported €1.5 billion.