Saudi Arabia Supermarket Chain Al Raya Sale Talks Said to Stall

Talks for the sale of a majority stake in Saudi Arabian supermarket chain Al-Raya For Foodstuff Co. to Dubai-based private equity firms Abraaj Group Ltd. and Fajr Capital have stalled, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Negotiations broke down because of differences over valuation as economic growth and consumer spending slow in the country, two of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The sale could value Al-Raya at as much as 1.7 billion riyals ($460 million), three people with knowledge of the matter said in September.

Al Raya’s owners, Dubai-based Levant Capital and the Rohatyn Group, appointed advisers to seek a buyer for their controlling stake in March, people with knowledge of the matter said that month. The two companies acquired their interest in Al-Raya for $100 million in 2012. Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Capital and Apollo Global Management LLC also submitted bids to acquire the stake in Al-Raya, people familiar said in September.

A spokesman for Fajr declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for Abraaj. Rohatyn and Levant Capital didn’t return calls seeking comment, while noone was immediately available to comment at Al Raya.

The value of mergers and acquisitions completed in the Middle East and Africa fell by nearly 27 percent to $26.2 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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