ACON Selling GBarbosa

ACON Investments has agreed to sell Brazilian supermarket chain GBarbosa to Cencosud of Chile. No financial terms were disclosed. ACON acquired GBarbosa from Royal Ahold in March 2005, in partnership with company management. It had retained UBS and Merrill to lead an IPO, before being approached by several strategic buyers, including Cencosud.


Private equity firm ACON Investments LLC (“ACON”), today announced it has agreed to sell its Brazilian supermarket chain GBarbosa to the Chilean based supermarket retailer, Cencosud.  GBarbosa is the fourth largest food retailer in Brazil and one of the largest in Brazil's fast growing Northeast region.  Headquartered in Aracaju, Sergipe, GBarbosa operates 46 supermarkets in the states of Sergipe, Alagoas and Bahia.  It operates supermarkets, hypermarkets and pharmacies and is expected to have combined revenue of more than R$1.9 billion in 2007.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


ACON acquired GBarbosa in March 2005 from Royal Ahold in partnership with the existing GBarbosa management team.  From 2004 to 2007 GBarbosa will have grown from 32 supermarkets to 49 supermarkets, revenues are expected to have grown from R$1 billion to R$1.9 billion, EBITDA from R$45 million to R$75 million and the number of employees from approximately 5,900 to over 9,000.  In 2006, GBarbosa had the highest sales per square meter of the top ten retailers in Brazil.  It also had one of the highest same store sales growth rates in each of the last three years having grown at 18.3%, 10.4% and 9.1% respectively.  GBarbosa also operates one of the largest private label credit cards in the northeast with over 1.1 million cards in circulation.


Ken Brotman, Founding Partner at ACON, said: “We are honored to have had the opportunity to work so closely with the management of GBarbosa over the last several years to rapidly grow the Company and have it become a leader in its region.  We are delighted that through our efforts at GBarbosa we were able to contribute to the rapid growth of Brazil's Northeast region and provide products and services that the people of the Northeast need,” said Brotman.


“We continue to believe that when identified early enough certain companies can become critical strategic building blocks for multi-national corporations.  That proved true with GBarbosa in Brazil and earlier with Carulla Vivero in Colombia.  We believe there continue to be exciting opportunities in emerging markets, as well as in more developed economies such as Brazil, where traditional private equity investors who properly identify such companies and build them successfully can create value for their investors,” Brotman continued.


GBarbosa hired UBS and Merrill Lynch to conduct an initial public offering in Brazil for the Company.  The Company had filed its prospectus with the Brazilian authorities to pursue an offering but was then approached by several strategic buyers who expressed interest in the Company.  Following a comprehensive review, a sale to Cencosud was deemed the most attractive option for GBarbosa