China Investment Corp., Beijing's sovereign wealth fund, is part of an investor group that is exploring a potential buyout of fast-food company Yum China Holdings Inc., Bloomberg News reported, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
The consortium is backed by private equity firm Hillhouse Capital Advisors Ltd. and includes DCP Capital and KKR & Co., according to the report. Baring Pvt. Equity Asia is also reportedly joining the group.
One of the report's sources said the consortium is considering taking Yum China private and aims to relist the business in Hong Kong at a later date. Bloomberg News reported in July that Hillhouse and KKR were in discussions with banks about financing a takeover of the company.
It is uncertain if the discussions will lead to a deal as no final decisions have been made, the sources cautioned, adding that the composition of the investor group could still change.
Primavera Capital Group, a current investor in Yum China, could also join a bidding group as it considers options for its stake in the company, the sources also said.
Reuters separately reported, citing a source with knowledge of the situation, that the Hillhouse group might not be the only bidder for Yum China.
Yum China is a spinoff of U.S. company YUM! Brands Inc. Listed in New York with a current market cap of $13 billion, Yum China operates KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell outlets in China.
The company has engaged in internal discussions about switching to a Hong Kong listing due to a possibly higher valuation and the city's proximity to the Chinese market, according to Reuters, which cited a source with knowledge of the plan.
Following the latest report on a potential buyout, shares in Yum China rose as much as 7.5% this morning in New York and were up more than 4% in afternoon trading.