Permira lines up two more deals

Permira, a buyout firm with various retail interests in Spain, is closing in on another big retail asset in the country. The firm is also reportedly mulling a bid for a UK IT services group.

Permira is reportedly weighing up a bid for LogicaCMG, a UK IT services company, as it pulls ahead in the race to buy Spanish supermarket group Caprabo.

The European buyout firm is the front-runner in the race to buy Caprabo, an ailing Spanish retail chain, according to sources close to the deal. A report in the Financial Times suggested that French retail groups Carrefour and Auchan have also submitted final round bids for the chain, which is expected to be valued at between €800 million ($1.1 billion) and €1 billion. The supermarket has struggled recently in the face of competition from low-cost rival Mercadona.

Permira has an active interest in the Spanish retail market. It already owns DinoSol Supermercados, Spain’s seventh biggest food retailer, which it bought in 2004 for €895 million, and co-owns Cortefiel, another Spanish retail chain, which it took private alongside CVC and PAI Partners in 2005. Last year it won the auction for Telepizza, a Spanish pizza delivery business.

The London-based Times newspaper reports that Permira is also considering a possible bid for LogicaCMG, a London-based IT group. The move would follow the announcement this week that Logica’s chief executive Martin Read is to step down, after coming under pressure from key shareholders over the company’s falling share price and recent profit warnings.

Permira has taken an active interest in the IT sector in recent months: it teamed up with hedge fund Centaurus Capital to bid for French group Atos Origin last year before pulling out after due diligence, and also toyed with a bid for UK company Misys.

However, banking sources suggested the firm’s interest in Logica was at a very early stage and may not lead to a bid.

Permira declined to comment.