CVC cooks up KFC Korea deal

The firm has invested $100m in the fast-food franchise having acquired KFC Malaysia last year.

CVC Capital Partners has invested in the Korea-based franchise of Kentucky Fried Chicken, owned by SRS Korea, a subsidiary of local conglomerate Doosan, sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Private Equity International.  

The deal was worth around KRW 100 billion ($98 million; €71 million), although it is unclear which fund the investment came from.

CVC declined to comment due to regulatory restrictions relating to its on-going fundraise, however Charles Huh, Seoul-based senior managing director at CVC, was quoted in local media as saying, “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.”

The deal is CVC’s first recent transaction in Korea, one of its key markets in Asia. The firm’s Korea activities are led by senior managing partner and head of North Asia at the firm Roy Kuan, although Huh is the senior team member on the ground there.

CVC’s investment in KFC Korea comes about 18 months after it acquired Malaysia’s QSR Brands, which owns the Malaysian franchises of KFC and Pizza Hut, in a deal worth around $1.7 billion.

The firm has been actively buying assets in Asia’s F&B sector recently, acquiring Chinese restaurant chains Da Niang Dumpling and South Beauty in March and April respectively, PEI reported earlier. The firm did not disclose financial details on either of the deals.

Its investment spree also comes as the firm readies the close of its $3.5 billion Asia-focused fund, CVC’s fourth vehicle dedicated to the region. The fund had raised $3 billion by February this year, garnering another $100 million in commitments from two Japanese banks in March, PEI reported earlier.

The firm expects to close on its $3.5 billion hard cap in the coming months.