Charterhouse Said to Arrange $2.7 Billion of Debt for Elior Sale

Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP has arranged financing of more than 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) to attract bidders for Elior SCA, the French catering company it’s seeking to sell, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Credit Agricole SA, HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Nomura Holdings Inc. are offering the so-called staple financing, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deal is private. The package includes bank debt as well as senior secured and subordinated bonds, they said.

Staple financing helps a sales process by showing bidders an estimate of how much debt the deal can draw, the type of financing available and the banks willing to lend.

Private-equity company Charterhouse hired Rothschild, HSBC and Credit Agricole to sell Elior’s catering division in November seeking to raise more than 2 billion euros, people said at the time. CVC Capital Partners Ltd. and BC Partners Holdings Ltd. are preparing a joint 3.5 billion-euro bid for the entire company, the Financial Times reported yesterday.

Gary Sunderland, head of information resources at London-based Charterhouse, declined to comment. Rosanna Konarzewski, a BC Partners spokeswoman, and Ed Moore, a CVC spokesman, also declined to comment.

Charterhouse owns 62 percent of the company that controls Paris-based Elior, according to its website, while Elior co-founder Robert Zolade controls about 25 percent. Chequers Capital funds own about 8 percent.

Charterhouse was among a group of investors that paid 2.5 billion euros in 2006 for the business. Credit Agricole, Morgan Stanley and the bank then known as Merrill Lynch & Co. led lenders in providing about 2 billion euros of leveraged loans to back the 2006 buyout, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Some of the debt was extended last year.

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