CVC Capital Partners to buy Autobar vendor

CVC Capital Partners to buy Autobar vendor

Private equity group CVC Capital Partners has acquired drinks vending machine operator Autobar and is planning further acquisitions in the sector.

CVC said today (9 August) that it has agreed to acquire Autobar from fellow private equity firm Charterhouse Capital Partners, which will retain a minority stake in the business.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but the Financial Times newspaper reported that CVC has agreed to pay EUR1.2bn (US$1.6bn) for control of Autobar Group. The paper did not cite sources.

Autobar is one of Europe's leading vending businesses, with around 100,000 customers and 255,000 vending machines in 11 countries. The firm had sales of EUR569m in its most recent fiscal year.

CVC indicated that it plans to expand Autobar and seek further acquisitions in the food and drink vending sector.

"CVC and Charterhouse believe that Autobar is an exciting platform for growth within the European vending industry over the next five years," said CVC. "The sources of this growth are expected to include increased throughput in the existing machine park and deployment of new machines and acquisitions."     

There has been speculation that CVC would next seek to acquire Selecta, owned by Germany-based Allianz.

Autobar has expanded rapidly over the last two years, acquiring seven rivals, in Spain, France and Sweden. "There are a significant number of growth opportunities for Autobar in the market today, and CVC and Charterhouse are excellent partners with whom to pursue these opportunities over the years ahead,” said Autobar's CEO, Andrew Bristow.

The deal marks a further foray for CVC into the food and drink arena. The investment firm put up $3bn to acquire brewing assets in Central and Eastern Europe, including Staropramen, from Anheuser-Busch InBev last last year.

Read just-drinks comment on what this news means for the vending industry.