April 19, 2018 / 11:28 AM / a year ago

Cava producer Codorniu rejects Carlyle offer, open to minority partner

Bottles of Codorniu cava are seen on a supermarket shelf in Barcelona, Spain, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Codorniu, a maker of cava sparkling wine, said on Thursday they had rejected a takeover bid by U.S. fund The Carlyle Group, confirming a report in newspaper La Vanguardia, but added they were open to an approach by a potential minority partner.

The Codorniu board rejected an offer by the fund last week after Carlyle proposed the acquisition of a majority stake, a spokeswoman said.

Carlyle could not be contacted for immediate comment.

Some of the private, family-run company’s 216 shareholders plan to sell their stakes and that has prompted Codorniu’s interest in external partners, she said.

The spokeswoman could not say how many of the stakeholders wanted to leave or the size of their combined stake.

The Catalonia-based company, which has roots that date back to 1551, reported revenue of 236 million euros (205.70 million pounds) in the year to June 2017 and expects to report a core profit of 30 million euros this year.

Codorniu’s search for an external investor comes after rival Freixenet sold 50.7 percent of its shares to Germany’s Henkell last month.

Freixenet and Codorniu are among the more than 4,000 businesses that have moved their legal headquarters out of Catalonia after an independence movement led to political confrontation between Barcelona and Madrid.

Reporting by Emma Pinedo; writing by Paul Day; editing by Jason Neely

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