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Kuwaiti fast-food group Americana revives sale talks

Kuwaiti fast-food group Americana revives sale talks

Americana owns the Middle East franchises for fast food chains KFC and Pizza Hut

Kuwait Food Co (Americana) is back in talks to sell a majority stake to a group of Gulf investors just days after negotiations collapsed over valuation issues, sources said on Wednesday.

Americana, which owns the Middle East franchises for fast food chains KFC and Pizza Hut and also produces branded consumer foods, has been up for sale since early 2014.

Investment firm Adeptio, which is led by prominent Dubai businessman Mohamed Alabbar, in February agreed to buy 69 per cent of Americana from Al Khair for Stocks and Real Estate, which is controlled by the Kharafis, a wealthy merchant family.

But the long-running sale process collapsed at the end of May.

Talks have since restarted between the two parties, according to two sources familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the information isn’t public.

Americana did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request to comment. Adeptio was also not immediately available to comment.

The talks had initially broken down after the completion of due diligence when Adeptio’s attempt to revise down its valuation of the company was rejected by the seller, one Gulf-based source familiar with the transaction said.

Talks have restarted in the past few days and the gap between the buyer and the seller is narrower than before, indicating a deal could still happen, the source said.

Al Khair’s 69 per cent stake is currently valued at around $1.9bn, according to Reuters’ calculations.

To help to finance the previous deal, Adeptio was aiming to secure a $1.5bn bridge loan from a group of banks including Standard Chartered, Credit Suisse, Emirates NBD and First Gulf Bank.

Both sources said the same banks would be involved in financing any new deal, although the second source said the new loan amount was yet to be finalised.


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