Eat food chain to expand after buyout by Lyceum
Wednesday 30 March 2011
The private equity firm Lyceum Capital has acquired Eat, the sandwich and coffee chain, in a management buyout deal and vowed to triple its number of UK shops to more than 300 and launch overseas.
The 110-store chain's previous backers, Penta Capital, put Eat up for sale for about £100m in early 2010 and the grocer Waitrose is thought to have considered a bid but a deal never materialised. But interest in the process was rekindled and Lyceum Capital has now bought more than a 50 per cent stake in Eat, most of it from Penta for an undisclosed sum. It is thought that Penta held a similarly sized minority stake of around 45 per cent to that of Niall and Faith MacArthur, the husband and wife founders. They founded Eat in 1996, opened their first shop close to London's Trafalgar Square and have remained at the helm.
Following Lyceum's purchase, Mr and Mrs MacArthur will keep their existing roles of managing director and brand director, respectively, as well as a more than a 40 per cent shareholding.
Mr MacArthur said: "This deal marks the next major stage in Eat's development and will be the catalyst for an expansion programme that will see us extend our reach throughout the UK." He added: "We are as enthusiastic now as we were on day one. We want to grow the business to a really exciting national brand."
Alongside management and its founders, Lyceum said it would invest in the busines to "accelerate" a store opening programme in the UK, which will initially see Eat add a further 100 stores over the next four years in the £3bn specialist food and coffee "to go" market. By doubling in size, Eat will create 1,500 jobs. But Lyceum said that Eats could "support well over 300 branches" in the UK and vowed to launch outlets overseas.
Mr MacArthur said: "I think the Eat brand is immensely portable and will function anywhere where people value good service and quality food. We have had expressions of interest from most corners of the world." While he declined to cite a specific country for a new launch and a timeframe, he said: "Watch this space over the next couple of years."
Eat grew sales to £85m last year, up from £68m in 2008, and has not been affected by the slowdown in spending on the high street this year. Mr MacArthur said: "Sales have not dipped. They are significantly higher than they have been over the last couple of years."
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness contradicts athlete version
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
South Korea ferry: Captain Lee Joon-seok could face criminal investigation as over 280 remain missing
Peaches Geldof dead: Private funeral for the family and friends of the socialite will take place next week
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
iJobs Money & Business
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...