Private equity firm Livingbridge has acquired ECI Partners' (ECI) stake in Rhubarb, the contract caterer and restaurant operator which caters at a number of venues in the capital.
The new deal marks the first investment from Livingbridge's £660m fund, Livingbridge 6, which completed fundraising in September 2016 and targets companies with enterprise values typically between £20m and £125m.
Livingstone has also previously invested in the food and drink sector with Pho, the Vietnamese fast casual restaurant in 2012 and French restaurant group, Bistrot Pierre in 2015.
The investment is expected to help Rhubarb's continued growth across the UK and internationally with the overall aim of doubling in size in the next four years.
In addition, Richard Prosser, who has private equity expertise within the global leisure, travel and tourism industries, will be joining as chairman on completion of the deal.
Rhubarb currently has offices in London and Surrey and employs 248 full time members of staff alongside over 900 temporary staff.
PB Jacobse, CEO of Rhubarb, said: "We have really enjoyed working with ECI to build and grow Rhubarb and are now very excited to be working with Livingbridge on the next stage of our development, particularly in light of their knowledge of the food and beverage market through their existing investments.
"We are ideally positioned to benefit from positive market trends and current consumer tastes and, with a good level of visibility over our existing contracts, as well as a strong pipeline of new growth opportunities, we are confident of building on the strong momentum we have generated to date."
Benoit Broch, director at Livingbridge, added: "Rhubarb's management team have done a fantastic job in growing the business over recent years, securing a number of high-profile contracts and creating a premium, differentiated brand that is highly valued by consumers and businesses alike.
"The company has long-term contracts at some fantastic locations and a strong pipeline of future growth opportunities and we are very much looking forward to helping them expand their offering both throughout the UK and overseas."
ECI invested in Rhubarb in 2012 for a minority stake to support the team in growing the business. Its exit from Rhubarb, which tripled its money, marks the company's fourth in 2016.
Rhubarb's portfolio includes the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, Royal Albert Hall, Saatchi Gallery, Heathrow Terminal 3 and Terminal 5, London City Airport, Royal Ascot Racecourse and the £60m catering contract at the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex.
Last month, it announced it will open an all-day restaurant in the new Centre Point development towards the end of 2017.
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