Bain Capital buys Australian Boost Juice parent

SYDNEY Fri May 30, 2014 2:05am EDT

SYDNEY May 30 (Reuters) - U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital said on Friday it bought Australian fast food company Retail Zoo, owner of Boost Juice Bars, in a deal a source said was worth about A$185 million ($171.84 million).

Bain and Retail Zoo, which has 294 stores in Australia and another 100 stores in countries including Malaysia, South Africa, the U.K., Singapore and Russia, confirmed the sale in a statement without elaborating on the details.

A source with direct knowledge of the sale said the deal valued Retail Zoo at about A$185 million, including a stake of less than half to be kept by the company's husband and wife founders, Executive Chairman Jeff Allis and Executive Director Janine Allis.

The vendor was another U.S. private equity firm, The Riverside Company, which the source said had wanted to sell since late 2013. Local media reported Riverside bought a 65 percent stake for A$65 million in 2010.

The source declined to be identified because they were not authorised to speak publicly about the matter. Bain and Retail Zoo did not comment on the value of the deal. Riverside representatives were not immediately available to comment.

Australian food companies are increasingly attractive to offshore investors because they are well placed to capitalise on the growing Asian middle class and its appetite for good quality products.

Earlier this month, Australian bread and dairy company Goodman Fielder agreed to a A$1.37 billion takeover offer from China's Wilmar International Ltd and First Pacific Co.

On May 27, U.K.-based R&R Ice Cream Plc said it would buy Australian ice cream company Peters Food Group Ltd from its private equity parent Pacific Equity Group in a deal Australian media valued at about A$450 million.

Bain said Retail Zoo represented its second major investment in Australia after accounting software group MYOB, which it bought from Archer Capital for A$1.3 billion in 2011. ($1 = 1.0766 Australian Dollars) (Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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