Wagamama sold to private equity firm in £215m deal

25 March 2011 by
Wagamama sold to private equity firm in £215m deal

A private equity firm has bought Wagamama in a deal thought to be worth £215m.

London-based Duke Street has bought the company from business investment firm Lion Capital. Duke Street is expected to make expansion of the Wagamama brand one of its priorities.

Lion bought Wagamama in 2005 for £100m and has since doubled the number of restaurants in the UK to 70 and opened three overseas sites.

Investment firm Hutton Collins provided a combination of mezzanine and equity financing to support Duke Street's acquisition of the noodle chain from Lion Capital.

This is the third time Hutton Collins has invested in Wagamama, having initially supported Graphite Capital in its 2004 recapitalisation of the business, and subsequently backing Lion Capital's acquisition in 2005.

Since its inception in 2002, Hutton Collins has invested in the leisure sector nine times, with companies such as Pizza Express, Coral, Ster Century and Loch Fyne Restaurants.

Matthew Collins, founding partner of Hutton Collins, said: "Wagamama is an excellent business that has gone from strength to strength since we first invested in 2004. The fact that this is Hutton Collins' first hat-trick investment demonstrates our confidence in the potential of this business, and we are delighted to be working with Steve and his team again. The company has ambitious expansion plans, and with Duke Street's backing we look forward to helping it realise them."

Wagamama, which was founded in Bloomsbury, London in 1992 by the restaurateur Alan Yau.

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By Neil Gerrard

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