Saudi Supermarket Owners Said to Work With Moelis on Sale

The private-equity owners of Saudi Arabian supermarket chain Al-Raya For Foodstuff Co. are working with Moelis & Co. as they explore a potential sale of the company, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Al-Raya shareholders The Rohatyn Group and Dubai-based Levant Capital are seeking a buyer for their controlling stake in the company, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. A formal sale process is yet to begin and may draw interest from both private-equity and strategic bidders, they said.

Levant Capital and Citigroup Inc.’s buyout unit bought a controlling stake in Al-Raya for $100 million in 2012, in a sign of growing interest for consumer-related investments in the kingdom. Rohatyn bought the Citigroup unit, Citi Venture Capital International, in 2013.

Economic growth and a rising population in the Gulf is leading to increased investments in the consumer industry by companies and private-equity firms. KKR & Co. is teaming up with Dubai-based Fajr Capital Ltd. to bid for a 25 percent stake in Azadea Group, the franchise operator of clothing chain Zara in the Middle East, people familiar with the plan said in January.

Moelis is also advising the owners of Burger King Worldwide Inc.’s biggest franchiser outside the U.S. as they consider a potential stake sale in the company, people with knowledge of the matter said in January. Turkey’s Kurdoglu and Urundul families plan to sell a minority stake in Istanbul-based TAB Gida Sanayi & Ticaret SA to investors this year, the people said, asking not to be indentified as the plans are private. The company runs about 800 Burger King restaurants.

Al-Raya operated about 30 stores in Saudi Arabia as of 2012 and was planning to add new branches, according to the company’s website. Representatives for Moelis, Levant Capital and Rohatyn declined to comment.

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