HONG KONG May 8 CVC Capital Partners has agreed
to buy South Korea's KFC franchise from a subsidiary of Doosan
Co Ltd for 100 billion won ($98 million), Doosan
said on Thursday.
The deal is CVC's fourth in the restaurant space in
18 months as the London headquartered private equity firm places
its bets on rising disposable income and changing dining habits
among Asian consumers.
"Asians used to eat at home, but we are seeing an increasing
trend to dining out across the region. Quick dining venues like
KFC are growing fastest in Korea," said CVC's Seoul-based senior
managing director Charles Huh.
The South Korea investment follows CVC's $1.7 billion buyout
of KFC franchises in Malaysia through a consortium, and
acquisitions of majority stakes in two China restaurant
businesses - high-end chain South Beauty and fast food dumpling
chain Da Niang.
The KFC deal is also the latest in a series of buyouts in a
resurgent South Korea M&A market this year, helped by economic
and political stability, a steady domestic stock market and a
stream of buyout targets being churned out by foreign and local
Doosan, the parent company of construction-to-industry
equipment Doosan Group, has been moving away from its former
strength in food and beverages for the past decade to focus on
construction and industry equipment manufacturing led by units
such as Doosan Heavy Industries, Doosan Infracore
and U.S.-based Bobcat Company.
Doosan previously sold its Burger King business to local
private equity firm Vogo for 110 billion won in 2012.
($1 = 1022.5500 Korean Won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee and Stephen Aldred; Editing by Ryan