Upmarket caterer group mulls potential sale

Tue, 02 Feb 2016 | BUSINESS SALE

Rhubarb, the upmarket caterer that serves the likes of the Royal Albert Hall, is exploring its strategic options to include laying the groundwork for a potential sale.

The group is believed to have brought in investment bank Lincoln International to act as their advisor. Some who are close to the company say that a potential deal would be more likely to happen next year.

Rhubarb's backer, ECI Partners, took a significant minority shareholding in 2012, plugging in £12 million into a deal that valued the caterer at about £30 million. ECI's other interests include Evans Cycles and Great Rail Journeys.

Established in 1996, Rhubarb initially focused on being an events caterer, but forayed into fixed-site restaurants in 2008, and opened a restaurant at Heathrow's Terminal 3.

It took over three restaurants, 13 bars and 142 hospitality boxes at the Albert Hall in 2001, and took over the Sky Garden in the City of London in 2015.

The caterer also has contracts with London City airport and Ascot Racecourse. In 2011 Heston Blumenthal signed a contract with Rhubarb and joined its board of directors.

In October last year it won a £60 million contract to supply event catering at the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex, to start in March.

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