KKR, TPG Said to Explore $5 Billion Bids for Americana

Private-equity firms KKR & Co. and TPG Capital are among groups examining bids for a majority stake in Kuwait Foods Co., the Middle Eastern food manufacturer and outlet operator known as Americana, according to people familiar with the matter.

The buyout firms are among at least six groups exploring the purchase of Americana from the biggest shareholder, the Al-Kharafi family, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Other bidders interested in the sale, which could value the Kuwaiti-listed company at about $5 billion, include CVC Capital Partners Ltd and Advent International Corp., two of the people said.

Private-equity firms are stepping up acquisitions in the Gulf as economies improve and companies seek cash for expansion. TPG Capital and The Abraaj Group Ltd are seeking funding for the potential acquisition of Saudi fast food chain Kudu, Bloomberg News reported June 10. Warburg Pincus LLC bought a majority stake in a Dubai aviation software company owned by Emirates NBD PJSC’s Dnata in April, in the U.S. private equity firm’s first investment in the Middle East.

Americana shares rose 3.6 percent on the Kuwait stock exchange today, the most since December and have gained more than 14 percent this year, valuing it at about $4.1 billion.

The company, founded in 1964, is the franchise operator of restaurants such as KFC, TGI Friday’s Inc. and Pizza Hut in the Middle East North Africa region. It also manufactures produce including California Garden beans and Farm Frites frozen vegetables.

The Al-Kharafi family, which has interests in the construction, telecommunications and financial sectors, owns 66.8 percent of Americana, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company posted net income of $178 million for the fiscal year ending 2013 on sales of $3 billion.

Spokesmen for KKR, TPG, Advent and CVC declined to comment. Representatives for Americana and the Al-Kharafi family did not respond to requests seeking comment.

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