Finance & Banking Saudi PIF ‘shortlisted as bidder for stake in Starbucks MENA’ By Reuters June 6, 2022 Unsplash A Starbucks coffee shop. Kuwait's Alshaya Group is reportedly selling up to 30 percent of its Starbucks franchise Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has been shortlisted to buy a stake in the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia Starbucks franchise held by Alshaya Group, according to two sources. The franchise has several hundred coffee shops in 14 countries across the Middle East, Russia and central Asia. Kuwait-based Alshaya Group, the region’s leading brand franchise owner, hired JPMorgan last year to sell a significant minority stake in the business. The sources said it could sell up to 30 percent, generating $4 billion to $5 billion. Saudis want the world to wake up and smell their coffee The PIF, which manages more than $600 billion of assets, declined to comment. Alshaya did not immediately respond to a request for comment. JPMorgan also declined to comment. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund is among the bidders that have made it to the next round, one of the sources said. Several private equity bidders were also in the race, including CVC Capital Partners and Brookfield, but it was not immediately clear if they had been shortlisted. Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment Co and Abu Dhabi state holding fund ADQ are no longer in the race, according to the two sources. Mubadala declined to comment, while ADQ did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The deal would widen the investor base of a business privately held by the Alshaya family since 1999, one of the sources said. Some of the Middle East’s biggest privately owned companies are warming to the idea of bringing in outside investors through listings or strategic stake sales. Saudi Arabia has seen a spate of listings in recent years as the kingdom encourages more family-owned companies to float in a bid to deepen its capital markets under reforms aimed at reducing reliance on oil revenues. The second source said funds raised could be used towards other businesses Alshaya owns – and that the valuation of the Starbucks franchise is attractive, making the sale of a stake compelling. The privately held Alshaya Group says it is the oldest company in Kuwait, first registered in 1890. Its franchises include H&M, Mothercare, Debenhams, American Eagle Outfitters and Victoria’s Secret.