Italian private equity firm Clessidra Capital Partners has sold balsamic vinegar maker Acetum to Associated British Foods, the owner of retail chain Primark and brands such as Twinings and Ovaltine.

Acetum is a manufacturer and distributor of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, a European Protected Geographical Indication-certified specialty vinegar among the most famous and appreciated Italian food products.

It also makes balsamic glazes, wine and apple vinegars. Its key brands include Mazzetti, which is the number one brand in Germany and Australia, Acetum and Fini.

Acetum’s products are sold in more than 60 countries around the world, the largest markets being the US and Germany. In 2016 the business generated net sales of €103m.

Clessidra acquired an 80 per cent stake in Acetum in 2015 with the remaining 20 per cent retained by founders Cesare Mazzetti and Marco Bombarda, who will remain involved in the business but not as shareholders.

Real Deals understands that Clessidra exited Acetum after a two-year hold period because Associated British Foods’ offer was too good to refuse.

The deal team at Clessidra included managing director Matteo Ricatti and investment directors Francesco Colli and Giulio Torregrossa.

Clessidra was advised by Goldman Sachs and Studio Gatti Pavesi Bianchi. Clessidra was also advised by Alonzo Committeri and Partners for tax matters, KPMG for accounting matters and MN Tax & Legal for corporate law matters.

Completion of the transaction is subject to antitrust clearance in Germany and Austria.

Acetum is the fourth portfolio company sold by Clessidra in recent months, all of which have been exited to trade buyers. In December the firm sold resin consumer products manufacturer ABM Italia to BC Partners-backed Keter Group Clessidra and jewellery business Buccellati to Chinese conglomerate Gangtai Group. 

Viscolube, the used motor oil recycling business backed by Stirling Square Capital Partners, acquired Bitolea from Clessidra in August.

Established in 2003, Clessidra is part of Italmobiliare, the Italian investment holding company controlled by the Pesenti family. The firm is dedicated to the Italian buyout market and has around €2.5bn under management.

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