Lion Capital, Permira In Tight Race for Findus

(Reuters) – Lion Capital and Permira are neck and neck in the race to buy Unilever’s (ULVR.L) Italian frozen food unit Findus, people familiar with the matter said, with a winner likely to be announced in the next few weeks.

The two private equity firms are expected to place binding bids for Unilever’s last remaining frozen foods business in Europe by Tuesday’s deadline, the people said.

BC Partners [BCPRT.UL] is also expected to bid, the people said, but Lion and Permira are viewed as frontrunners, a perception that has held since the early stages of the auction, due to their existing investments in the branded frozen foods business. 

Unilever and the private equity firms declined to comment. (Additional reporting by David Jones; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.7939 Euro) ($1=.6631 Pound)