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Alabbar-led group's US$1.8b Americana acquisition collapses

[DUBAI] A Dubai-based investor group led by Emaar Properties PJSC Chairman Mohamed Alabbar ended talks to buy a 69 per cent stake in Kuwait Food Co, a Middle Eastern fast-food operator valued at about US$1.8 billion, 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." The statement didn't say why the talks collapsed.

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.

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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