Private equity: food for thought

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By Neil McCarroll

Private equity houses, it seems, are hungry for deals in the food and drink sector. And their appetite is growing.

Just last month, London’s acclaimed Hawksmoor steak restaurants were snapped up by Graphite Capital for a reported £35m. Graphite is no stranger to the F&B sector, having invested in an early-day Wagamama and Rex Restaurant Associates, owners of the iconic Wolseley and Delaunay brands. The deal was swiftly followed by CBPE Capital’s £100m acquisition of Côte Restaurants this month.

Rutland Partners also took a slice of the action last year with the acquisition of Pizza Hut’s 330-strong dine-in outlets, a deal on which Taylor Wessing advised Rutland. And Bowmark Capital bought into the Drake & Morgan London-based bar and restaurant chain earlier this year…

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