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Saudi Arabia’s Olayan Takes Majority Stake in Gulf Union Foods

Saudi Arabia’s Olayan Group acquired a majority stake in beverage maker Gulf Union Food Co. from shareholders including Jadwa Investment Co., as investors seek access to the kingdom’s fast-growing consumer industry.

Olayan Financing Co., a unit of the Saudi group which is also the top shareholder in Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), will buy a 51 percent stake in Gulf Union, the companies said today in a joint statement. Jadwa’s food and beverage opportunity fund will sell its 30 percent stake in the company as part of the deal, according to the statement, which didn’t detail terms.

Olayan, one of the most prominent Saudi Arabian family-owned firms, was in talks to buy a majority stake in Gulf Union in a deal potentially worth about 500 million riyals ($133 million), people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Private equity activity in the largest Gulf Arab economy is accelerating, especially in the consumer and retail sectors.

TPG Capital and Abraaj Group are seeking funding for the potential acquisition of Saudi fast-food chain Kudu, three people with knowledge of the matter said last month.

Gulf Union, which began operations in 1999, has nine brands and about 1,200 employees. Olayan has interests in businesses ranging from manufacturing to services and distribution, according to information on its website.

The firm has a 5.5 percent stake in Zurich-based Credit Suisse, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dinesh Nair in London at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at; Aaron Kirchfeld at Shaji Mathew

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