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Mon 1 Dec 2014 05:10 PM

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Middle East retailer said to eye $500m from stake sale

Sources say Lebanon-based Azadea Group is planning to sell a minority stake

Middle East retailer said to eye $500m from stake sale
Superdry is one of the brands operated by Azadea in the Middle East.

Azadea Group, a retailer with franchise rights for brands such as Gap, Zara and Superdry across the Middle East, aims to raise up to $500 million with the sale of a minority stake in the business, sources aware of the matter told Reuters.

Based in Lebanon but with operations across the wider Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan, Azadea expects to fetch between $400 million and $500 million with its offer of a 25 percent stake, two banking sources said.

Interest from local and international investors is expected to be high, given a booming Middle East consumer sector as a predominantly young population spends its increasing wealth.

"It's attracting overseas attention as it hits the right spot for people who want to play in the strong macroeconomic story of the region," one of the banking sources said.

Azadea declined to comment.

Other consumer-focused assets that have entered the market in recent months, such as Saudi fast-food chainKudu and Kuwait Food Co (Americana), have drawn the likes of TPG Capital, KKR & Co and CVC Capital Partners to the bidding process.

Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) worked with Azadea to prepare the company for the divestment and has been retained to help with the sale process, two of the sources said.

Founded in 1978 by Wassim Daher, the current chairman, Azadea maintains a strong family presence in the running of the business. Said Daher, one of Wassim's sons, is chief executive while another, Hassan Daher, is managing director.

Azadea operates more than 50 franchises across through more than 500 stores, according to its website.

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