Savola Said to Hire JPMorgan for $4 Billion Americana Bid

Savola Group, a Saudi Arabian food producer, hired JPMorgan Chase & Co to advise on a potential bid for the operator of KFC restaurants in the Middle East and North Africa, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

Non-binding bids for the $4.3 billion Kuwait Food business, known as Americana, are due next month, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

KKR & Co. and CVC Capital Partners Ltd. have submitted a joint offer while TPG Capital Management LP is also bidding, the people said. Advent International Corp., which participated in the first round of bidding, has dropped out, they said. International banks are lining up financing of between $1 billion to $3 billion for the firms, according to the people.

Private-equity firms are stepping up acquisitions in the Gulf as economic growth accelerates and companies seek cash for expansion. Warburg Pincus LLC bought a majority stake in a Dubai aviation software company owned by Emirates Airline’s Dnata unit in April, in the U.S. private-equity firm’s first investment in the Middle East.

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, from sales of $3 billion.

Savola Group, JPMorgan, CVC and TPG declined to comment, as did Advent International. Representatives for KKR and Americana didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

(Corrects name of company in fourth paragraph.)
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