Leon Black's Apollo Said to Seek First Middle East Deal

  • Bidding for Saudi supermarket chain valued up to $460 million
  • Dubai-based Frontier Management is sourcing deals for Apollo

Apollo Global Management LLC, the alternative-asset manager run by Leon Black, is bidding for a controlling stake in Saudi Arabian supermarket chain Al-Raya For Foodstuff Co., four people with knowledge of the matter said.

Al-Raya may be valued at as much as 1.7 billion riyals ($460 million) and would be New York-based Apollo’s first acquisition in the Middle East, three of the people said, asking not to be identified as talks are private. Two other United Arab Emirates-based private equity firms, Fajr Capital Ltd and Gulf Capital, have also teamed up to submit a bid, according to the people.

Dubai-based Frontier Management Group sourced the deal for Apollo, the people said. Frontier was licensed to operate in the Dubai International Financial Centre in June, according to the financial centre’s website, and is scouring for other potential transaction as the U.S. firm looks to expand in the Persian Gulf region, the people said. Apollo has $30 billion of dry powder to invest, Chief Executive Officer Leon Black said on an earnings call in July.

The Rohatyn Group and Dubai-based Levant Capital, which own Al Raya, are working with Moelis & Co. to seek a buyer for their controlling stake in the company, people familiar with the matter said in March. The two companies acquired their interest in Al-Raya for $100 million in 2012.

A spokesman for Fajr declined to comment. Frontier couldn’t be reached for comment while calls and e-mails to Apollo, Gulf Capital, Rohatyn and Levant Capital, weren’t returned.

Danube Co. Ltd., another Saudi Arabian supermarket chain, is in talks to sell a stake to Bahrain-based Investcorp Bank BSC, people with knowledge of the matter said last week. That deal could value Danube at about $2 billion, according to the people.

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