D&D London set for 'imminent' £60m sale to new investors

16 October 2023 by
D&D London set for 'imminent' £60m sale to new investors

Restaurant group D&D London is to be sold to two new investors in a deal that is expected to be signed this week.

Calveton and Breal Capital are to acquire the business in a move that would reportedly value the company at around £60m, including its debt.

D&D said the deal was a "significant milestone" in its history and would "open the door to enhanced growth and exciting opportunities".

Calveton bought the beleaguered Byron burger chain in 2020, while Breal Capital has been on a hospitality acquisition spree this year that has seen it take over wine bar chain Vinoteca, Yorkshire's Black Sheep Brewery and London craft brewers Brick Brewery and Brew By Numbers.

D&D operates around 40 restaurants in the UK and overseas including Bluebird in London, 20 Stories in Manchester and Orelle in Birmingham, as well as the South Place hotel in London.

The deal will see David Loewi, who co-founded the company with Des Gunewardena in 2006 from the Conran Restaurants portfolio, stay on as chief executive and shareholder.

Simon Willkinson, who previously ran Byron and the La Tasca Spanish restaurant chain, will join the board as chief advancement officer.

Calveton and Breal will invest proprietary capital "patient" money, which D&D said contrasted with institutionally backed private equity funds who invest with a view to an eventual exit.

D&D said the investment would bring about a c£40m balance sheet recapitalisation and give it a "clear runway" for further expansion.

"This partnership will provide us with the financial backing and strategic support to accelerate growth both in the UK and internationally," said Loewi.

Calveton founder Sandeep Vyas said the investor was excited to support D&D's growth ambitions.

"Our shared vision is to preserve the rich heritage and identities of these remarkable restaurants," he added.

The sale comes after a turbulent 12 months for the business, which saw co-founder Des Gunewardena depart the company in 2022 after 16 years "to pursue other ventures".

Chef Francesco Mazzei, who had worked with D&D for seven years, also left the business in April this year and said he would focus on travelling and his charity work.

In June, D&D hired advisers to seek further funding after its longstanding investor, private equity firm LDC, exited the business after 10 years.

D&D closed its restaurants East 59th in Leeds, Avenue and Radici in London, and Klosterhaus in Bristol in January, blaming "economic challenges".

Cantina del Ponte in London Bridge permanently shut in June and the site has been taken on by chef Peter Lloyd's Sticky Mango concept.

D&D also closed its Plateau restaurant in London's Canary Wharf in July, with Loewi blaming a drop in footfall and other "economic challenges".

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