| SAO PAULO
SAO PAULO The owner of Brazilian juice maker Natural One SA has sold a minority stake to Brazilian investment firm Gávea Investimentos Ltda for an undisclosed price, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.
Ricardo Ermirio de Moraes, who founded Natural One a decade ago in the southeastern town of Jarinu and was its sole shareholder, agreed to the deal with Gávea on Dec. 28, the sources said.
Moraes is a member of the family that owns Brazil's largest industrial conglomerate, Votorantim SA. He was previously president of orange juice producer Citrovita SA, which is owned by his family, before founding Natural One.
Discussions with rival beverage companies such as Coca Cola Co (KO.N) and Britain's Britvic Plc (BVIC.L) failed to reach terms that interested Moraes, the sources added.
Three investment firms also looked at the sale, first reported by Reuters on Nov. 1.
At that time, Moraes was seeking a $150 million valuation for the whole company, though he had not yet decided whether to sell the control or a minority stake.
Gávea and Natural One did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In a message to clients seen by Reuters, Natural One said "Gávea will play an important role in the company´s global growth," improving its capital structure and corporate governance.
Gávea will invest through its vehicle GIF V, which manages 1.1 billion reais ($335 million), the statement added. The Brazilian investment firm has acquired stakes in 45 companies since 2006.
($1 = 3.2796 reais)
(Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Alan Crosby)