November 6, 2012 / 9:01 AM / in 5 years

Shareholders overwhelmingly back $1.7 bln buyout of Malaysia KFC franchisees

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Shareholders in Malaysia’s two main KFC fast food franchisees have overwhelmingly backed a $1.7 billion bid to take the business private, despite suggestions by some minority shareholders they would try to block the deal.

Shareholders in both QSR Brands Bhd and KFC Holdings (Malaysia) Bhd in meeting on Monday and Tuesday approved what is the largest such deal in Malaysia since the privatisation of pay-TV firm Astro All Asia Network Plc in 2010.

About 98 percent of shareholders in QSR Brands and around 99 percent of shareholders in KFC Holdings voted in favour of the deal.

Some minority shareholders earlier told Reuters that the original price offered last December by a consortium, that includes private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, failed to take into account the rapid rise since in the country’s retail sector.

“I don’t think we had much choice,” a shareholder in QSR Brand Bhd who voted with the majority told Reuters after emerging from the closed-door meeting.

“They (the board) said they would consider paying us dividends if the capital repayment is not done by year-end,” she added.

Other minority shareholders said they had been advised to accept the offer as profits at both QSR and KFC have been on a declining trend since the start of the year.

The bid for KFC and QSR was made in December by CVC and the investment arm of Malaysia’s Johor state - Johor Corp . The Employee Provident Fund joined the consortium in May. (Reporting by Yantoultra Ngui and Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah in Kuala Lumpur, Editing by Siva Sithraputhran and Jonathan Thatcher)

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