In a private transaction worth millions of dollars, the family of late Kenyan businessman and philanthropist Nicholas Biwott has sold the iconic Yaya Center shopping complex in Nairobi to a consortium of private investors, including one of the country’s wealthiest families.
The recent transaction marks the end of an era for the Biwott family, which had owned the Yaya Center for over three decades. The consortium, led by the multimillionaire Rasik Kantaria family, will now take charge of the prominent shopping complex located in Kilimani, Nairobi.
As part of the deal, the Rasik Kantaria family will also assume ownership of the upscale Yaya Apartments and Hotel, aiming to reposition Yaya Center as one of the leading malls in the region.
While the commercial details of the purchase are bound by confidentiality agreements, sources familiar with the transaction have confirmed that the Yaya Center was valued at millions of dollars.
Yaya Center, founded in the 1980s, has grown to become a modern multifunctional shopping mall, housing more than 100 shops and offices. Its strategic location and land value have long been considered significant assets, as demonstrated by a court case in 1997 that valued the complex at Ksh3 billion ($21.1 million).
However, in this recent transaction, the valuation also considered the thriving businesses within the mall and its high demand for rented spaces, making it an attractive investment opportunity for the consortium.
The late Biwott, a prominent Kenyan businessman and politician, passed away at the age of 77 on July 11, 2017, at The Nairobi Hospital. He was part of a generation of distinguished public servants who ventured into various businesses, impacting Kenya’s economy.
Throughout his career, Biwott invested in diverse ventures, including the Eldoret Town International Harvester franchise, the Kipsinende dairy farm, real estate properties in the Rift Valley and Nairobi, wheat and maize commercial farming, and an import-export food and agriculture business.
One of his notable ventures, Air Kenya, created numerous job opportunities and contributed significantly to Kenya’s revenue and foreign investments over four decades.
Since his passing, the family of Biwott has been gradually selling off some of his businesses and assets. In 2020, they sold stakes in oil marketer KenolKobil to the French multinational oil marketing firm Rubis, a deal that amounted to Ksh8.4 billion ($59 million).
The recent sale of Yaya Center marks another milestone in the family’s efforts to manage and optimize their late patriarch’s business legacy.