Birds Eye Owner Nomad Said Among Suitors for Bellisio Foods

  • Morgan Stanley, Moelis advising current owner Centre Partners
  • Maker of Chili’s At Home frozen meals may fetch $800 million

The maker of Chili’s At Home and Boston Market frozen foods has attracted interest from suitors including Nomad Foods Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter.

Bellisio Foods Inc. is working with investment banks Morgan Stanley and Moelis & Co. on a sale process, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Along with Nomad, which makes and distributes Findus and Birds Eye brands in Europe, Pinnacle Foods Inc. and private equity firms may also make first-round bids, they said.

Minneapolis-based Bellisio, which is owned by Centre Partners Management, generates about $85 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, two of the people said. Based on an multiple of about nine to 10 times Ebitda, Bellisio could fetch about $800 million, they said.

Spokesmen for Centre Partners, Moelis and Morgan Stanley declined to comment. Spokesmen for Nomad, Pinnacle and Bellisio didn’t respond to e-mail requests for comment.

Centre Partners bought Bellisio in 2011 for an undisclosed sum, according to its website. The buyout firm has backed the company to make bolt-on acquisitions, including the 2013 purchases of Austin Packaging company and Overhill Farms Inc., which bought the Boston Market brands under its umbrella.

Nomad, headed by Chief Executive Officer Stefan Deescheemaeker, agreed to buy the Birds Eye and Iglo brands in Europe from buyout firm Permira in April 2015. It added the continental European operations of Findus in August.