Bain Capital weighs bid to buy shares in Sodexo interest unit – source According to Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of French food service and facilities management group Sodexo is seen at corporate headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

By Pamela Barbaglia and Gwénaëlle Barzic

LONDON (Reuters) – Bain Capital is looking to bid for a stake in the welfare and bonus services unit of French food supplier Sodexo (PA:) as the Paris-listed firm is looking for investors with could help fund the group’s shift, sources told Reuters.

Sodexo, which has a market value of 12 billion euros ($13.7 billion), is looking to sell a minority stake of about 30% in the business that has fueled the group’s post-COVID recovery by offering programs employee benefits as well as meal vouchers. and gift cards, one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The source said an auction process will begin this week, with other private equity firms expected to join the race.

Sodexo’s benefit unit delivered a 7% increase in organic revenue in its latest quarter results. Its valuation could exceed 2 billion euros, the source said, based on core earnings of around 200 million euros.

A Sodexo spokesperson said the company will retain majority control over the benefits and rewards business, adding that “in this context, we are currently studying strategic options.” different.”

The spokesperson also rejected plans for an initial public offering (IPO).

Bain was not available for comment immediately.

Sodexo, one of the world’s largest food delivery companies along with UK’s Compass, has been hit hard by the pandemic and has had to cut jobs and halt dividend payments to stay afloat.

Unlike restaurants, food service providers like Sodexo – serving businesses, government agencies, hospitals, schools and event organizers – do not have a direct relationship with the consumer. users and cannot focus on home delivery during the lockdown.

On January 6, Sodexo, founded in 1966 by French billionaire Pierre Bellon, warned the prolonged return to telecommuting caused by the Omicron variant would hurt its revenue.

The Bellon family, which holds a 42.8% stake in the company, gave the green light to scrap the benefits division, which also offers fuel cards, incentive programs and sports cards.

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