• M&A Leisure deal flow bulletin

    August 2019 edition


M&A Leisure deal flow bulletin - August 2019 edition

29 August 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of our bulletin – the BDO M&A Leisure team's overview of the latest M&A activity in the leisure space.

Restaurants and Bars

  • August 2019, Sukhothai – BDO M&A advised the management team and shareholders of the seven-strong Thai restaurant group to facilitate a partial MBO. The group, which operates under Sukhothai and Zaap brands, opened its eighth site shortly after completion of the transaction. HSBC supported the MBO. View deal details here
  • August 2019, Harry Ramsden’s – Boparan Restaurant Group divested their 34-strong fish and chip restaurant brand to Deep Blue Restaurants.
  • August 2019, Giggling Squid – Propel reported that Giggling Squid, the BGF-backed Thai restaurant chain with 32 sites across the south of England had called off their search for new investment following a period of testing the market. Andy Laurillard, managing director, said: “We have a fantastic business that continues to perform well. While we had significant interest in Giggling Squid, the shareholders felt none of the offers received were strong enough. We will revisit our options in due course.”
  • August 2019, Gather & Gather and Creative Events – CH&Co has agreed to acquire catering services providers from Mitie Group Plc, outsourced facilities management company for £79m.
  • August 2019, Cabana Restaurants – MCA reported that Jamie Barber's Rio-inspired street food brand, has appointed administrators. Five of the 12 sites have been sold to another Jamie Barner group, Hush Mayfair. Five further restaurants remain after two sites were closed.
  • August 2019, Taylor St Baristas – the London-based coffee shop chain has appointed administrators after selling eight of its sites to Black Sheep Coffee earlier in the month.
  • July 2019, Busaba – Muzinich has taken its stake in Busaba, the Thai restaurant group, to above 75% following a restructuring of its debt. In May 2019, per the Company’s accounts: “The Company also undertook a refinancing exercise which put in place additional facilities of £1.4m to support the ongoing development of the business and some restructuring costs”. Muzinich had initially acquired a significant minority stake in October 2017 by swapping its debt for equity.
  • June 2019, Pod – Azzurri Group has acquired Pod, the healthy eating concept, in pre-pack administration for £1.6m. 14 of Pod’s 22 restaurants will remain open while eight will close. There is an intention to convert a number of the sites into Azzurri’s “Coco di Mama” brand in the near future.
  • June 2019, Tonkotsu – YFM has made a £5m investment for a minority stake in the ramen restaurant concept, Tonkotsu. The group, led by Stephen Evans, currently operates 10 sites, with two further openings due in 2019. Sarah Willingham, formerly of PizzaExpress and Bombay Bicycle Club, will chair the restaurant group.

Pubs and Brewers

  • Whose round is next? M&A continues at pace in the Pub sector.
    M&A continues at pace in the Pub sector with the latest transaction being CK Asset Holdings’ (“CKA”) acquisition of Greene King, the Bury St Edmunds-based pubco & brewer, known for its IPA & brands such as Old Speckled Hen & Abbot Ale. The transaction is the third deal of scale since Fuller’s Brewery was acquired by Asahi in January for £250m and TDR Capital backed Stonegate’s acquisition of Ei Group just last month for ~£3bn.
    Please click here to read the full article
  • August 2019, Greene King – CK Asset Holdings has made an offer for the entire share capital of Greene King, the 2,700 strong Bury St Edmunds-based pub operator and brewer, which is valued at c.£4.6bn. The offer values the share capital at £2.7bn (a 51% premium over the closing share price on the Friday prior to the announcement). The offer represents a 9.6x CY EBITDA multiple.
  • August 2019, Wadworth – Aaron Brown and Mark Grunnell-led Red Oak Taverns acquired 18 leased and tenanted pubs from brewer and retailer, Wadworth, which operates over 200 pubs across South West of England and London.
  • August 2019, Upham – the 15-strong premium pub operator has completed a sale and leaseback of 14 of its pubs with CBRE Global Investors.
  • July 2019, Ei Group – TDR Capital-backed Stonegate Pub Company has agreed to acquire Ei Group for c.£3bn, representing a 11x CY EBITDA multiple. The deal, priced at a 38% premium to the closing share price one day prior to announcement, will see Ei Group CEO, Simon Townsend, stepping down post-completion.


  • May 2019, Ian Allan Travel – BDO M&A advised business travel experts, Clarity Travel, on the acquisition of travel management specialist, Ian Allan Travel, which focuses on the corporate, education and charity sectors.
  • August 2019, Thomas Cook – the UK-listed travel group has reached “substantial agreement” over key terms to recapitalise the Company. China-based Fosun Tourism Group and incumbent lenders are to inject £900m of new cash, as well as agreeing to debt for equity swaps. Thomas Cook’s share price has dropped over 90% in the last 12 months.
  • August 2019, Vacations by Rail – Great Rail Journeys, the Duke Street-backed escorted worldwide rail holidays provider, has agreed to acquire Chicago-based Vacations by Rail. The acquisition will improve Great Rail Journey’s standing “as the world’s leading escorted rail company and is a key part of its plans to expand both internationally and into new product areas” per a statement from Great Rail Journeys.
  • August 2019, On the Beach – the UK-based travel retailer has appointed Adam Hansen as Corporate Development Director, signalling appetite for European acquisitions. Adam Hansen previously held a position as a Director at Rothschild.
  • August 2019, Malvern Group – the parent of Super Break and Laterooms.com, which is 49%-owned by Cox & Kings, has been placed into administration following news of Cox and Kings’ loan default in July, resulting in the withdrawal of additional funding for Malvern Group.
  • May 2019, Away Resorts – PE House, Freshstream, agreed to acquire a majority stake in Away Resorts, operator of UK holiday parks, from LDC.

Alternative Leisure

  • August 2019, Social Entertainment Ventures – Bounce and Flight Club USA operator, Social Entertainment Ventures, has appointed Cameron Chartouni, CEO of private family investment office, Acropolis Capital, as a director.
  • August 2019, Energie Fitness – Bridges Fund Management backed the MBO of Energie Fitness, the UK-based low-cost gym franchise business. Energie Fitness has over 100 sites across the UK & Ireland, and post-transaction plans to roll out a further 30-40 new gyms per annum.
  • June 2019, Ten Health & Fitness – Boutique wellbeing and clinical fitness operator Ten Health & Fitness secured £4m in funding from Foresight. Foresight’s investment was made with a view to grow the London-based estate from eight to 16 sites over the next three years.
  • June 2019, Merlin Entertainment – the owner of Legoland and Madame Tussauds has accepted a bid from the Danish family who own Lego (Kirkbi), private equity firm Blackstone, and CPPIB, the Canadian pension firm, representing an Enterprise Value of £5.9bn. The 12.0x HY EBITDA offer was a 14% premium over the closing share price one day prior to announcement.
  • June 2019, Puttshack – The tech-enabled mini-golf social entertainment concept, Puttshack, has revealed accelerated roll-out plans following the completion of a £30m equity raise with lead investor Promethean Investments. Joe Vrankin, former Topgolf CEO, has been appointed as CEO to lead the expansion across the UK and North America. Former CEO of Vapiano UK, Roberto Moretti, has since joined Puttshack as COO, and Logan Powell, formerly of US family office Copper Beech Capital, as CFO.

Please contact one of the M&A Leisure team if you would like to discuss any of the topics raised in more detail.

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To view our recent M&A Leisure sector credentials, client testimonials and team contacts download our M&A Leisure Credentials brochure. To view our complete Corporate Finance experience in the Leisure sector, explore our latest deals.

Our team works with a range of ambitious public, owner managed and private equity backed businesses across a wide range of leisure sub-sectors including pubs, restaurants and bars, travel and alternative leisure. Our specialists combine deep industry knowledge and technical experience to support businesses' growth journeys domestically and internationally, bringing together entrepreneurial passion and institutional rigour. 

Our team of sector specialists is integrated across accounting, audit, tax, other advisory and Corporate Finance, which means we are able to help our clients in many complementary areas throughout the transactions.

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