CVC agrees to buy S.Korea KFC franchise for $98 mln-Reuters

(Reuters) – 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 conglomerates.

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.