Gulf group to buy $1.7bn stake in Kuwait’s Americana.

A Gulf consortium backed by Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar has signed a preliminary agreement to buy a controlling stake in Kuwait Food Company, known as Americana, for a price thought to be in the region of $1.7 billion.The consortium, called Adeptio, has agreed to buy the whole of Al Khair National for Stocks and Real Estate’s circa 69 percent stake in Americana, it announced on Thursday.

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Adeptio said subject to due diligence and the acquisition of Al Khair’s stake, it plans to launch a mandatory takeover offer for Americana in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Kuwaiti Capital Markets Authority and Kuwait Stock Exchange.Al Khair is owned by Kuwait’s billionaire Al Kharafi family. Its stake is worth roughly 510 million dinars ($1.7 billion), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Americana owns the Middle East franchises for fast food chains KFC and Pizza Hut and also manufactures food products. It has a market value of around $2.52 billion, according to Reuters. Alabbar said: “Americana is a truly unique asset with a long and successful history. We see a bright future for Americana and look forward to working with management to realize the significant growth potential in the business going forward.”

Loay Jassim Al Kharafi added: “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.”

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Americana’s big shareholders had been in talks since early 2014 on selling a stake in the firm. Banking sources told Reuters that expressions of interest had come from potential investors including Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, Saudi food maker Savola Group, and private equity funds KKR and CVC.

 Market rules provide for Americana shares to be temporarily suspended from trade, the Kuwaiti market regulator said in a statement to the exchange.

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