White & Case and RTPR have advised MidEuropa on its EUR 1.3 billion sale of Romania's Profi supermarket chain to Dutch-Belgian listed retail and wholesale company Ahold Delhaize. CMS and, reportedly, GNP Guia Naghi & Partners advised Ahold Delhaize on the acquisition.
According to White & Case, this is the largest-ever private equity grocery sale in continental Europe.
MidEuropa is a European private equity investor with roots in Central Europe. It has been active for over 20 years, with over EUR 6 billion of assets under management and 45 businesses backed to date.
According to the seller's press release, Profi is Romania’s leading convenience and proximity supermarket chain operating a network of more than 1,650 stores. It employs more than 28,000 people in Romania and generated revenues of more than EUR 2.5 billion in the twelve months ending June 2023. "Following MidEuropa’s acquisition of Profi in 2017, the company has become the largest supermarket chain in Romania (based on number of stores) and one of the fastest-growing retailers in the country, successfully adding over 1,100 stores and increasing sales by more than 3.3 times."
Ahold Delhaize is a food retail group active in both supermarkets and e-commerce. It serves over 60 million customers in the US, Europe, and Indonesia. In Romania, Ahold Delhaize already operates a nationwide network of 969 stores, under the Mega Image brand.
"The sale of Profi is our second over EUR 1 billion exit in the retail sector in Central Europe," MidEuropa Managing Partner Robert Knorr commented. "A very important exit for the Central European region, which continues to be home to some of the most compelling growth companies in Europe."
Profi was initially sold by its founder to Enterprise Investors, back in 2009 when it operated 65 stores, for EUR 66 million. Enterprise Investors then sold the Romanian supermarket chain to Mid Europa Partners in 2016 – when it operated 484 stores – for EUR 533 million. RTPR also advised on the 2016 transaction (as reported by CEE Legal Matters on November 24, 2016).
The White & Case team was led by London-based Partners Ken Barry and Will Summers and included Prague-based Partner Jonathan Weinberg and other lawyers from the firm's London, Washington, and Helsinki offices.
The CMS team was led by Romania-based Managing Partner Horea Popescu, Partner Roxana Fratila, and Counsels Claudia Nagy and Raluca Ionescu, and UK-based Partner Eva Talmacsi and Senior Associate Kristin Shelley, working with more than 20 other lawyers from the firm's Romanian and UK offices.
Editor's Note: After this article was published, GNP Guia Naghi & Partners confirmed it had advised Ahold Delhaize on competition and retail industry-related matters. The firm's team was led by Managing Partner Manuela Guia and Partner Otilia Vilcu and included Senior Associate Patricia Avramescu and Associates Bianca Cernitoiu and Victor Stefan.