Americana revives stake sale talks


Moves comes just days after negotiations collapsed over valuation issues

Kuwait Food Company (Americana), the franchise owner for fast food chains KFC and Pizza Hut in the Middle East, is back in talks to sell a majority stake to a group of Gulf investors, sources said.

The move comes just days after negotiations collapsed over valuation issues for Americana, which has been up for sale since early 2014.

Investment firm Adeptio, which is led by prominent Dubai businessman Mohamed Alabbar, in February this year 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.

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.

To help to finance the previous deal, Adeptio was aiming to secure a $1.5 billion 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.