THE politically-charged takeover battle for Deoleo has ended, with the purchase of the company by a UK-based private equity firm.

Concluding a months-long bidding war, Deoleo’s majority shareholders – a group of four Spanish banks – have agreed to sell 29.99% of the company to the UK-based firm CVC Capital Partners.

CVC will launch a takeover bid for the rest of the company once the first part of the transaction is carried out, Deoleo said in a statement following the sale.

At €0.38 (53 American cents) a share, the sale values the world’s largest producer of bottled olive oil – which is responsible for around 22% of global sales – at €438.8 million.

At least three foreign investors had submitted bids for the company, including Fondo Strategico Italiano, the Italian state-backed fund.

The Italian bid caused uproar among Spanish farmers and government officials, who objected to the idea of their biggest rival in the olive oil sector taking over Spain’s key player.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi accused Spanish authorities of appearing to have an ideological aversion to an Italian stake in the company.

But Spain is more comfortable with the British purchase of the company, whose brands include Carbonell and Koipe.

But not all in Spain are pleased with the outcome.

A cooperative of Spanish olive oil farmers, who between them own 10% of the company, said it ‘laments’ the banks decision to sell to a foreign company.

“There were clear alternatives in the process giving the company a viable future with Spanish ownership,” they said in a statement.

Although the Spanish government had said it may buy a share in the firm this week – to keep a degree of Spanish control – it has not done so.


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