December 17, 2014 / 12:46 PM / 3 years ago

Abraaj tops Kellogg again in Bisco Misr takeover battle

CAIRO (Reuters) - Abraaj Investment Management raised its offer for Bisco Misr to 84.66 Egyptian pounds ($12) per share on Wednesday, trumping Kellogg Co again in an intensifying battle for the Egyptian snack maker.

The UAE’s Abraaj initially offered 73.91 pounds per share for Bisco Misr in early November, but Kellogg, the world’s biggest breakfast cereal maker, has twice outbid the private equity firm and its latest offer stood at 82.2 pounds per share.

Egypt’s regulator last week extended the period for Abraaj, the Middle East’s largest private equity firm, to match Kellogg’s bid to Dec. 24. The regulator has yet to approve Abraaj’s new offer.

Food is seen as a fast-growing sector in the most populous Arab nation of 86 million people and Bisco Misr is a well-known brand with three baking facilities in Cairo and Alexandria.

The bidding war is part of a flurry of mergers and rights issues on the Cairo bourse, an exchange which has struggled to revive investor confidence during the political and economic turmoil that followed popular uprisings in 2011.

Egypt’s government this year launched a raft of reforms aimed at luring back foreign investors and shoring up growth while cutting a ballooning deficit.

The competing offers from Kellogg and Abraaj are the latest sign foreign investors are returning to the market.

While shareholders with 56 percent of Bisco Misr had agreed to sell to Abraaj at 73.91 pounds per share, Kellogg’s bids forced the private equity firm to return with higher offers.

Abraaj, which has about $7.5 billion of assets under management, typically invests in high-growth sectors in emerging markets.

($1 = 7.1500 Egyptian pounds)

Reporting By Shadi Bushra; editing by Lin Noueihed and David Clarke

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