Sandwich bar operator Pret A Manger has been sold for an estimated £345m to private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital.
The company's co-founders, Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham, are expected to pocket at least £50m in cash from the sale, according to The Times.
Under the terms of the deal, Goldman Sachs, Bridgepoint's adviser, is taking a minority stake of about 20%, while McDonald's, which bought into Pret in 2001, is selling its entire 33% holding.
Pret has 175 shops in the UK, 14 in New York, 11 in Hong Kong and a single outlet in Singapore. It employs almost 4,000 people and had sales last year of £232m, up from £194m in 2006.
Bridgepoint plans to expand the estate by about 15% a year, with 30 outlets slated to open this year, including seven in New York.
Metcalfe said: "This is an exciting time for all of us at Pret. Bridgepoint shares our vision, understands our culture and will support our roll-out plan globally, while maintaining everything that makes Pret work for our customers and staff."
By Daniel Thomas
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