New owner for Wagamama chain

17 June 2005
New owner for Wagamama chain

The owner of Wagamama has agreed to sell its majority stake in the noodle-bar chain to another private equity firm, Lion Capital, for £102.5m.

Current owner Graphite Capital expects the transaction to be completed by next month.

As part of the deal Wagamama's senior management team, led by chief executive Ian Neill, will retain a "significant economic interest".

Neill said: "Lion Capital is well recognised for investing in franchise businesses within the consumer-related market.

"Its expertise in working with companies that are brand-orientated will be invaluable in helping us take Wagamama through the next stage of its expansion plans in the UK and abroad."

Graphite Capital backed the 1996 management buyout of the business, and will retain a minority stake.

Wagamama is due to open its 50th restaurant this year and has a presence in the UK, Europe, the Pacific Rim and the Middle East.

It was founded in London's Bloomsbury in 1992.

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