Montagu Weighs Sale of French Spreads Maker St Hubert

Updated on
  • Buyout firm said close to hiring JPMorgan to find buyer
  • Sale process could kick off as soon as the second quarter

Montagu Private Equity is weighing a sale of French margarine maker St Hubert as soon as next year and is close to hiring JPMorgan Chase & Co. to help find a buyer, people familiar with the matter said.

A sale process could kick off as soon as the second quarter, the people said, asking not to be named because the deliberations are private. The discussions are preliminary and no final decision has been made, the people said. Montagu acquired St Hubert in 2012 for 430 million euros ($461 million).

Companies that sell milk products and dairy alternatives have attracted more than $15 billion in takeover bids this year, topped by Danone’s acquisition of soy-milk maker WhiteWave Foods Co., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Deals involving food and beverages companies in total are down 73 percent from a year ago to about $80 billion, according to the data.

Representatives for Montagu and JPMorgan declined to comment.

Founded in 1904 in France, St Hubert specializes in low-fat alternatives to butter. The company had more than a third of French market share as of 2013, St Hubert said on its website.

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