Pret owner set to buy Côte

Mon, 29 Apr 2013 | BUSINESS SALE

Pret a Manger's owner, private equity firm Bridgepoint, is set to buy the brasserie restaurant chain Côte.

Business tycoon Richard Caring currently owns Côte, but the business is looking for a buyer after undergoing around six years of rapid growth. Indeed, the latest set of accounts show a profit increase in 2011 of over 200 per cent, making the business one of the UK's fastest growing restaurant companies.

Bridgepoint is thought to have entered a price of around £100 million for the deal. It is the frontrunner in the bidding after seeing off competition from a number of other potential buyers, including TA Associates and Investcorp.

The likely buyer already owns a number of consumer-facing businesses, including Fat Face and Hobbycraft. Caring, meanwhile, is focusing in on his higher-end businesses, such as London's The Ivy restaurant and Le Caprice.

The first branch of Côte was opened in Wimbledon back in 2007 after the business was founded by Andy Bassadone and Chris Benians, who launched Italian restaurant chain Strada. The firm has since grown to a chain of around 40 restaurants across the country with plans to open a further 12 sites this year.

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