Kuwait’s Americana says shareholder in talks on stake sale

The company, which has a market value of around $4.3 billion, did not identify the parties

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Kuwait Food Co (Americana) said on Tuesday that a major shareholder, Al Khair National for Stocks and Real Estate Co, was in preliminary talks with “various parties” to sell its stake in Americana.

The company, which has a market value of around $4.3 billion, did not identify the parties but stressed that no final agreement had been reached and no binding commitments had been made.

Al Khair is owned by the al-Kharafi family, which controls Americana. Reuters reported in April that the Kharafis, a billionaire merchant family with 66.8 percent of Americana, had hired investment bank Rothschild to explore a possible sale.

Several factors may affect the completion of a deal for Al Khair, Americana said, including a review by the franchisor of franchising contracts granted to Americana; regulatory and legal approvals, including one by the U.S. Department of Justice; and the determination of a fair price for the company.

Trade in Americana’s shares was suspended in mid-September as news of the talks emerged. Americana said on Tuesday that its shares would resume trading on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia’s Savola Group said in August that it had held preliminary talks with one of Americana’s major shareholders about a potential deal. It later disclosed it had hired JP Morgan to advise it.

A joint offer from private equity firms KKR & Co and CVC Capital Partners and a bid from a third interested party could be lodged by a deadline for second-round bids in mid-October, sources told Reuters previously.

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