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Gaucho sold to lenders as Martin Williams returns to brand to drive development

05 September 2018 by
Gaucho sold to lenders as Martin Williams returns to brand to drive development

Gaucho group has been sold to two of its lenders and will pursue a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) which, if approved, is expected to secure the future of all 16 restaurants and 750 employees.

International banking and finance groups SC Lowy and Investec have acquired the restaurant group as a new conglomerate, Lomo Bidco. The sale is expected to be completed in mid-October.

Administrator Deloitte has also announced the departure of chief executive Oliver Meakin after less than a year in the role. Meakin joined the restaurant group from Maplin Electronics in January, replacing Zeev Godik. Maplin Electronics itself fell into administration in February.

In the absence of Meakin, M Restaurants' founder Martin Williams will return to the group to work with stakeholders and drive the next stage of Gaucho's development.

Williams, who served as managing director of Gaucho before departing to establish M Restaurants in 2014, put forward a proposal to acquire the group in late 2017, but it was rejected by majority shareholder Equistone. He is understood to have made a second bid following the group's fall into administration.

The Gaucho Group closed 22 Cau branches after falling into administration in July, but its 16 Gaucho restaurants continued to trade while a buyer was sought.

Deloitte said the Cau brand was "significantly loss-making", having suffered negative like-for-like sales for three years. Its collapse resulted in 540 redundancies.

Matt Smith, partner at Deloitte, said: "We are delighted Investec and SC Lowy have agreed to purchase Gaucho, which offers the best outcome for all parties. Gaucho is a profitable and successful business and with the support of its new owners can now focus on its future growth plans."

A spokesman for Investec said: "We have supported Gaucho since 2016 and continued to provide support to the business through the difficult conditions experienced in 2018. We know the Gaucho team well and have significant confidence they can reinvigorate and grow the Gaucho brand.

"In light of this, we have acted in conjunction with SC Lowy to ensure the survival of Gaucho. We believe the creditor group will support the necessary CVA allowing Gaucho shortly to exit administration so we can take the business forward."

M Restaurants makes second bid to purchase Gaucho after collapse>>

Cau branches closed with immediate effect by Gaucho Group administrators>>

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