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Jollibee, Yum China eyes bids for China restaurant chain Wagas

Yum China Holdings Inc., Jollibee Foods Corp. and Restaurant Brands International Inc. are among companies considering bids to acquire Chinese healthy food and bakery chain Wagas, according to people familiar with the matter.

The closely held company has also drawn interest from private equity firms, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The owners of the business, whose sales are expected to reach close to 1.2 billion yuan ($188 million) this year, are seeking a valuation of $800 million to $1 billion or more, based on previous transactions in the industry as well as initial interest, the people said.

A buyer for the business could emerge as soon as this year, with the goal of completing the transaction next year, the people said. Considerations are still ongoing and no final decision has been made, the people said.

Jollibee, Yum China and Wagas declined to comment, while representatives for Toronto-based Restaurant Brands didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Shares of Jollibee rose as much as 3.8% in Manila, the biggest intraday gain in about two weeks.

Founded in 1999 as a cafe in Shanghai, Wagas has since expanded across China, counting more than 160 stores, according to its website. It sells light meals including power salads, pasta, sandwiches, juices and coffee.

Last month, Bloomberg News reported Wagas was exploring a sale amid initial interest from potential investors. — Bloomberg

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