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."
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
Halloween 2014: From the Screaming Man of Pluckley to the 'White Lady' of the Tower of London - Britain's 20 most haunted places
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...
£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...