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Mon 28 Jul 2014 10:56 AM

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UAE-backed Carlyle among bidders for Kuwait's Americana

A number of US firms are rumoured to be in the running for the $5bn food giant

UAE-backed Carlyle among bidders for Kuwait's Americana

US private equity giant Carlyle Group, in which Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company owns a 7.5 percent stake, is said to be one of a number of bidders competing to buy Kuwait’s Americana, the fast food firm which operates the Middle East franchises of brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut and TGI Friday’s.

According to a report in the UK-based Telegraph newspaper, Wall Street firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Carlyle are leading the bidding for the company.

Kuwait Food Co, which trades under the brand name Americana, has around 1,500 outlets and 65,000 employees, has operations in 13 countries and is majority-owned by Kuwait’s Al Kharafi family. Founded five decades ago, it also has 17 factories manufacturing meat, canned and frozen goods.

The report claimed investment bank Rothschild has been appointed by the Al Kharafi family and the company is likely to fetch bids of up to $5 billion.

Earlier this month, Americana said it had no knowledge of any firms interested in buying its business.

"The administration of the company has no knowledge of this matter. The administration of the company has also not received any offers regarding it," the firm said in a bourse filing.

Days before, Bloomberg reported private-equity firms KKR and TPG Capital were among groups looking to buy a majority stake in the food retailer. It cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Reuters also claimed in April that the Al Kharafi family had hired investment bank Rothschild to help sell the business.

Carlyle Group was founded in 1987 and currently has assets totalling around $31.5bn. Abu Dhabi wealth fund Mubadala bought its 7.5 percent stake the firm in 2007.

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