Alabbar-Led Group’s $1.8 Billion Americana Acquisition Collapses

  • Adeptio and Al Khair failed to reach final agreement on sale
  • Sale process for fast-food chain been in place for 2 years

A Dubai-based investor group led by Emaar Properties PJSC Chairman Mohamed Alabbar failed in its attempt to buy a 69 percent stake in Middle Eastern fast-food operator Kuwait Food Co., the latest twist in an on-off sale process stretching back at least two years.

"A final agreement has not been reached between Al Khair and the buyer, Adeptio, for all of Al Khair’s shares in Americana," Al Khair National for Stocks and Real Estate LLC said in an e-mailed statement on Sunday. "Therefore, the two sides have agreed to end negotiations.” An Adeptio spokesman confirmed the talks ended, though neither side gave a reason for the breakdown.

Adeptio LLC signed an initial accord in February to buy the stake in Americana, as Kuwait Food is known, and had planned to start a mandatory takeover offer under local stock exchange rules. The deal had culminated a sale process in which Kuwait’s Al-Kharafi family had tested investor interest in the company without concluding a deal.

Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte and Saudi Arabia’s Savola Group teamed up to bid last year, while KKR & Co. and CVC Capital Partners Ltd. made an offer in 2014, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. BRF SA, the Brazilian food maker, had also held talks with the company, its chairman said in an interview in 2014.

Shares Suspended

A 69 percent stake in Americana is worth about 649 million Kuwaiti dinars ($2.1 billion) at current market prices, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Americana shares have risen 17 percent since the beginning of the year, giving the company a market capitalization of about $3.1 billion. The stake was worth $1.8 billion when the bid was made public in February.

Kuwait’s stock exchange was closed when Al Khair said the talks had ended and shares had been suspended Sunday morning pending an announcement.

Banks, including Standard Chartered Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG and National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, had committed $1.5 billion to Adeptio to fund the Americana purchase, bankers with knowledge of the deal said in March. Citigroup Inc. dropped out of the group of banks financing the deal, two people familiar with the matter said in April.

Americana is the franchise operator of restaurants such as KFC, TGI Friday’s and Pizza Hut in the Middle East and North Africa. It also produces California Garden beans and Farm Frites frozen vegetables.

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