PE firms bid for PPR division

PAI Management, Barclays Private Equity and ABN Amro Capital are among a group of four bidders for the building materials unit of French retailer Pinault-Printemps Redoute.

A group of three private equity firms remain in the running for Pinault Bois & Materiaux, the building materials unit owned by French retail group Pinault-Printemps Redoute (PPR), with an announcement over the successful bidder expected within the next seven days.


A final group of four interested parties have been selected by PPR, with French newspaper Le Figaro reporting that talks are “very advanced”. French buyout firm PAI Management is among the bidders, as are ABN Amro Capital and Barclays Private Equitywho have launched a joint offer. Trade bidders include Irish building group CRH and Wolseley, a UK distributor of heating and plumbing products.


Final bids for Pinault Bois & Materiaux, which is France’s second biggest distributor of construction materials, have to be submitted by the weekend, with a final candidate to be selected by PPR the following week. PB&M is expected to attract bids in excess of E550m.


The sale by PPR is part of its plans to reduce its debt whilst also focusing on its luxury goods business, which includes a significant stake in Italian designer label Gucci. Yesterday, PPR announced that it had accepted an offer from Office Depot for its Guilbert contract sales business for E815m. The two deals should therefore yield PPR more than E1.3bn.


This transaction sees PAI Management and ABN Amro Capital competing in a second auction following both firms' attempts to buy PizzaExpress (currently the subject of a £277m offer from TDR Capital and Capricorn). Barclays Private Equity has also been busy, having completed three deals in the last four weeks, two in the UK and, most recently, a E100m deal to take a minority stake in Italian food distribution company Marr.