A group of Gulf investors led by Emaar Properties’ chairman Mohamed Alabbar has agreed to buy a controlling stake worth $1.7bn in Kuwait Food Company (Americana) from Kuwait’s Al-Kharafi family.

UAE-based investment firm Adeptio has signed an initial agreement with Al-Khair Holding Company, which is owned by the Al-Kharafis, to buy its 69 per cent stake in Americana, UK news agency Reuters cited a statement from the companies as saying.

Adeptio also represents other financial investors from the GCC, the statement said without naming the investors. It is not know how the investment firm will fund the planned acquisition.

Americana owns and operates the Middle East franchises of fast food chains KFC and Pizza Hut, and produces a range of branded consumer foods for markets across the region.

The deal is conditional on due diligence and it will also need the approval of Kuwait’s capital market regulator, according to Kuwaiti state news agency Kuna.

Adeptio plans to launch a mandatory offer to buy Americana’s remaining shares under Kuwaiti securities rules, the firm said.