Apollo and THG end talks; A week of consumer deals as A&M takes IBG; PAI submits offer for The Looping Group

Looping is a European group of regional leisure parks, consisting of 18 parks of four types: aquariums, animal parks, amusement parks and water parks.

This week we saw an interesting selection of deals in the consumer sector, although one of the biggest potential deals in the sector is not going ahead after Apollo and e-commerce firm THG ended take-private talks.

Meanwhile, A&M Capital Europe snapped up a majority stake in tech-enabled distributor of confectionery, baked goods and savoury snacks; PAI Partners made an offer to acquire a pan-European leisure park operator; Cathay Capital upped its stake in a perfumery brand and Apollo entered negotiations with Air France-KLM for a €500 million funding into an affiliate of Air France.

No deal

Online retailer THG, formerly known as The Hut Group, has ended takeover talks with private equity firm Apollo Global Management. THG announced in April it was “in receipt of an indicative proposal” from Apollo.

THG stated that following a short period of discussion, “there is no longer any merit in continuing to engage with Apollo”. The shares in the ecommerce group plunged by nearly 20 percent following the announcement.

Apollo confirmed in a statement that it does not intend to make an offer to acquire THG.

PE Hub Europe has asked Apollo for comment.

For more on the potential takeover, you can read our previous coverage here.


A&M Capital Europe (AMCE) acquired a majority stake in World of Sweets and Bobby’s (IBG) from Sculptor Capital Management.

IBG is a brand owner and tech-enabled distributor of confectionery, baked goods and savoury snacks into the convenience retail, speciality, wholesale and grocery channels. The company is headquartered in Loughborough, UK.

IBG plans to pursue bolt-on acquisitions, focusing primarily on branded targets in existing and new categories where it can leverage its footprint, according to a release.

For some more food deals, take a look at Irien Joseph’s round-up here, or my interview with Advent International’s Francesco Casiraghi on the firm’s add-on acquisition of Kerry Group’s Sweet Ingredients Portfolio.


While my own holidays seem to revolve around running long distances, it’s nice to know there are more relaxed options. PAI Partners made a binding offer to acquire The Looping Group, a pan-European leisure park operator, from Mubadala Capital’s private equity business and Bpifrance, the French national investment bank.

Paris-based Looping is a European group of regional leisure parks, consisting of 18 parks of four types: aquariums, animal parks, amusement parks and water parks.

Looping has benefitted from significant growth investments to enhance its existing portfolio of properties under Mubadala Capital’s ownership, according to a statement.

PAI will partner with Looping’s existing management team to drive further organic growth and add to the group’s portfolio of leisure parks, the statement said.

“Positioned in the resilient budget leisure segment, the group is well placed to benefit from long-term tailwinds that underpin the local leisure park market,” said Bertrand Monier, a partner at PAI Partners.

Earlier in the year, I covered PAI-backed European Camping Group’s acquisition of Vacanceselet, a campsite and mobile home operator. You can read that story here.


For a full sensory experience, let’s move on to scents. Cathay Capital has increased its stake in Juliette has a gun, and Weinberg Capital Partners has invested in the company.

Juliette is a perfumery brand based in Paris, France. The company also offers a range of home fragrances and personal care products such as candles, hand cream, and diffusers.

Cathay Capital first invested in Juliette in November 2020.

Juliette, in the last four years, has seen growth with an average of 40 percent a year, tripling its turnover over the last two years to achieve €120 million in retail sales value in 2022.

“We are proud to remain part of their cross-border growth journey and believe the brand still has significant runway, which is why we are investing even more this time alongside Weinberg Capital Partners to accelerate their development even further,” said Edouard Moinet, partner at Cathay Capital.


Switching back to Apollo Global Management, and the firm has entered negotiations with Air France-KLM for a €500 million funding into an affiliate of Air France that owns engineering and maintenance assets.

The proceeds of the potential transaction will be allocated to general corporate purposes, according to a release. Apollo’s potential funding will be non-dilutive and structured via a quasi-equity financing instrument, the release added.

The financing structure will involve no change on operational and social aspects.

Apollo, in July 2022, completed a €500 million investment into an operating affiliate of Air France that owns a pool of spare engines dedicated to Air France’s engineering and maintenance activities.


As it’s the eve of the Eurovision song contest grand final, I wanted to offer some loosely related weekend reading. I spoke with DUBAG’s Emanuel Cattanei in March about the firm’s acquisition of Eurovision Services from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Eurovision Services is a media services provider for media organisations and sports federations around the world.

Cattanei told me about how DUBAG plans to approach the carve-out and what the firm learned from a previous acquisition in the sector. You can read the full interview here.