China's Fosun Is in Talks for Minerva Overseas Investment

(Bloomberg) -- Minerva SA is in talks with China’s Fosun International Ltd. to invest in the Brazilian beef producer’s businesses overseas, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The Sao Paulo-based company is looking for anchor investors for a possible initial public offering of its Athena Foods unit in Chile that could be priced as early as March, or even a private placement, the person said, asking not to be named as discussions are private. It’s part of a plan to cut leverage after a slump in the Brazilian real inflated external debt.

Minerva has signed a non-disclosure agreement with Shanghai-based Fosun, and has held talks with other prospective investors, the person said. It’s being advised by a consortium led by Banco BTG Pactual SA and JP Morgan Chase & Co., the person said. Neither immediately responded to requests for comment.

Shares in Minerva recovered losses to close up 1.3 percent in Sao Paulo.

In September, the company said it planned to raise as much as 1.5 billion reais ($400 million) by selling a minority stake in Athena, which has operations in Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Colombia. The division accounts for about 40 percent of its revenue.

It plans to file for the IPO on Chile’s exchange later this month, but could opt instead for a private placement. Both Minerva and Fosun declined to comment.

Fosun has been one of China’s most acquisitive companies in recent years and its shopping spree is showing no signs of abating despite a government crackdown on overseas deals, which has forced other conglomerates such as HNA Group Co. and Dalian Wanda Group Co. to shed assets. This year, Fosun also announced deals for Brazilian brokerage Guide Investimentos and French fashion house Lanvin.

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