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Gulf investor eyes the $1.7 bln stake in Kuwait’s Americana

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February 5
2:00 AM 2016

A Gulf-based consortium owned by Mohammad Ali Rashed Al Abbar has shown their interest in buying out the controlling stake in the Middle East fast-food operator, Kuwait Food Co. An initial accord for the stake that is valued at $1.7 billion has already been signed.

According to Bloomberg, the controlling stake of 66.8% is held by Al Khair National for Stocks & Real Estate Co., who informed Americana of the investor, Adeptio LLC's intentions. When asked about the rumored deal, Adeptio confirmed that it is currently conducting the due diligence on its target, but the final decision will depend on the approval of Americana's franchisers. Additionally, the deal must also meet the requirements of Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority and the Kuwait Stock Exchange.

Al Abbar has made it very clear that it plans to acquire the controlling stake by fulfilling all the rules and regulations of all the authority bodies. As per Gulf News, the buyer has stated, "Americana is a leading food group with a long and successful history, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to be part of Americana's rich legacy that was built over the past five decades."

The Americana Group was founded in 1964 and it is known for operating the well-known restaurant chains of KFC, Pizza Hut, Costa Coffee, Krispy Kreme outlets in the Middle East. It is also a manufacturer of California Garden beans and Farm Frites vegetables and has a strong market presence which is valued at $2.52 billion.

Since August 2014, the Al Kharafi family has been in numerous discussions with many interested buyers. The most notable names were Saudi's Kingdom Holdings Company who made a bid in 2014 itself as well as Singapore's Temasek Holdings, Saudi's Savola Group Company, and the private equity funds KKR and CVC who approached the fast-food operator in January 2015.

However, the family seems to be inclined towards the Gulf offer as Loay Jassim Al Kharafi reportedly said, "This represents an important milestone for Americana. We have no doubt that under the leadership of H.E. Mohammed Alabbar, Americana will be able to reach new heights as the leading food and QSR (quick service restaurants) group in the region," as represented in Arabian Business.

As of now, the deal amount is yet to be disclosed, but the Americana Group has been valued at $6 billion in 2014, with annual sales of $3.2 billion, as per the company's last annual report. Adeptio too seems pretty confident about the buyout, which is reflected in Al Abbar's statement, "We see a bright future for Americana, and we look forward to the development of the group in the future." 

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