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The news of JAVA changing ownership to a Dubai based company by the name of Abraaj Group took everybody by surprise. The franchise that was first opened in 1999 has grown from a small time to a fully fledged business with outlets in Nairobi and Kampala.

The sale of the 90 percent stake owned by Washington based Emerging Capital Partners to the Dubai based company saw Mr. Kevin Ashley, part owner of JAVA, cash in Kshs. 1.3 billion from his equity. It is reported that the Abraaj emerged the top bidder in an auction that was setup by the coffee chain’s shareholders. Among the bidders were Washington based Carlyle Group and San Francisco based TPG.

In 2012, Mr. Kevin Ashley sold 90% stake of JAVA to ECP. The money was supposed to be used to expand the business though the cash remitted to Mr. Ashley was not disclosed.

In as much as the move comes as a surprise to most Kenyans, it will cement Kenya’s reputation as a high return market that offers easy exit routes for PE funds and development finance institutions.

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