Elior Group, one of the world's leading foodservice operators, has acquired Waterfall Catering Group, a UK-based contract caterer in the education, care and welfare markets.
Philippe Salle, group chairman and chief executive of Elior, said the acquisition is part of the group's strategic plan for the next four years to expand in in priority markets.
"Waterfall Catering Group's strong client portfolio and its outstanding expertise will greatly support our ambition to be part of the top contract caterers in the UK market and double the size of the activity there by 2020," he explained.
"The market presents joint opportunities, in segments in which Elior Group has a referent position: education, healthcare and premium business & industry. We intend to continue to expand in the United Kingdom both organically and through mergers and acquisitions, and Waterfall Catering Group's acquisition mirrors perfectly our strategy."
The acquisition is the second for Elior Group in the UK after Lexington Catering in September 2014.
Catherine Roe, chief executive of Elior UK, said: "This is an exciting move for both Elior UK and Waterfall Catering Group. Together we share a common passion for delivering great customer experiences and innovative food services. The acquisition allows Elior Group to strengthen its growing market position in the UK and enhance the support and resource available to our respective customers."
Waterfall Catering Group chief executive Jim Lovett added: "We share similar values and a similar ethos in terms of our approach towards clients, attention to detail and great food. The combined effect of our two businesses and our differentiation and specialism will make us an even more powerful force in the care and education markets."
Taylor Shaw and Caterplus will continue to operate under their current brands as part of Elior Group. Chairman Vince Pearson, Jim Lovett and chief financial officer Gabrielle Higham will keep their position and will remain as minority shareholders to oversee the next phase of growth.
All 3,500 employees will remain part of the team going forward.
The acquisition provides an exit for Waterfall's institutional backers LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, which invested in the business in December 2014.
Founded in 1991, Elior Group generated â¬5,674m in revenue through 18,600 restaurants and points of sale in 13 countries in the financial year 2014-2015. It employs 108,000 staff and serves four million customers daily.