Drake & Morgan could grow to 70 sites after £30m management buy out
London-based bar/restaurant group Drake & Morgan could expand to up to 70 sites following a £30m management buy out, backed by private equity investor Bowmark Capital.
Drake & Morgan was founded in 2008 by Drake & Morgan's managing director Jillian MacLean (pictured), and the restaurant investor Imbiba Partnership.
The company now has five sites, including the Refinery in Southwark, and the Folly in the City. It is set to open two more - the Happenstance in St Paul's and the Haberdashery in Holborn.
The management has identified a further eight sites for opening over the following two years and over the longer-term, the company plans to roll out the concept nationwide and believes there is potential for up to 70 units across the UK.
The deal with Bowmark Capital, confirmed today, saw Imbiba exit the business. Bowmark has committed further funds to support the roll-out strategy, alongside a debt package from RBS Financial Sponsors. Bowmark has backed several successful roll-outs in the leisure industry, including previous investments in the Las Iguanas and Living Room restaurant and bar chains.
Jillian MacLean said: "We are very excited about the next phase of our growth strategy and, with Bowmark's support and financial backing, we look forward to accelerating the roll-out of the company, both in central London and in other locations across the country."
Bowmark partner, Ron Pearson, said: "Drake & Morgan represents an appealing proposition for both customers and landlords, and is led by one the best management teams in the hospitality sector. We believe the business has significant potential for further growth, and look forward to working with Jillian and her team to scale the business."
John Connell of Imbiba said: "This transaction is consistent with our ‘buy, build and exit' business model. Drake and Morgan has now completed its ‘start-up stage' following which the dynamics of the company will change and it is now time to hand over to new owners to move the company to a more mature level. This exit represents a truly excellent return for Imbiba Partnership shareholders and illustrates our consistent ability to deliver significant shareholder value. We have known Bowmark for a long time and have been impressed by their understanding and approach to the sector. I look forward to working with them during this transition period and seeing Drake & Morgan flourish over the coming years."
Connell will continue in his role as chairman of Drake & Morgan post-transaction. He and his fellow Imbiba partners, Simon Wheeler and Mark Brumby, are retaining a minority stake, alongside Jillian MacLean and her management team.
Drake & Morgan, which has won several industry awards including the 2011 pub and bar Catey, has seen sales grow at over 75% per annum over the past three years to their current level of £18m.