EQT Partners, a European-based private equity firm, has expressed interest in purchasing a stake in a company that owns Dairy Queen and Papa John's franchises in China. According to the Wall Street Journal, the firm is looking at franchise rights from U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC.

Warburg Pincus invested in the franchise rights of the chains in 2008 and now operates in 19 Chinese provinces.

Papa John's is the second largest pizza chain in China, behind Pizza Hut. Dairy Queen is the largest ice cream chain in the country.

According to the story: "Private-equity firms have recently invested in Chinese restaurants that cater to the mass market, including fast food chains, because they stand to benefit most from China's growing middle class and are shielded from the government's curbs on banquet spending by officials."

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