Bristol based cafe-bar chain acquired in multi-million pound deal - Business Leader News

Bristol based cafe-bar chain acquired in multi-million pound deal

loungersA Bristol based cafe-bar chain has been acquired in a multi-million pound deal.

Lion Capital has bought Loungers in a deal that has been valued at £173m.

The business was formed by long-standing friends Alex Reilley, Jake Bishop and Dave Reid and opened its first venue on North Street in the Bedminster in 2002.

It has since become one of the fastest-growing groups of its kind on the high street and now has 94 sites under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands.

Lion Capital, a long-established name in the food, drink, retail and leisure sectors, has previously invested in Wagamama, Weetabix, Jimmy Choo, Kettle Foods and AllSaints.

It acquired the stake in Loungers previously owned by rival Piper Equity along with a portion of the founders’ holding.

Piper invested in Loungers in April 2012 when the business had 20 Lounges and three Cosy Clubs across the UK.

The owners say that the move will allow the group to achieve its ambition of opening one of its Lounge outlets on 500 high streets across the UK.

The team behind the business will continue to be involved in the business for its next stage of its growth.

Alex Reilley remains as chairman of the group while Nick Collins, who joined as finance director in 2012 and became CEO in 2015, will continue to lead the business with Justin Carter, who joined as COO last year.

Jake Bishop will remain as managing director of Cosy Club.

Lion Capital partner James Cocker said: “We have admired Loungers for several years as one of the most distinctive and scalable foodservice propositions in the UK.

“Its casual, all-day offering is well-aligned with consumer trends and has been proven to trade successfully in an extraordinarily diverse range of locations. Alex, Jake, Nick and their team have built a first-class business with a wonderful culture. We are tremendously excited to partner with them for the next phase of the company’s development.”

Loungers chairman Alex Reilley said: “The Piper team have been absolutely brilliant for Loungers and we’ve enjoyed a wonderful and productive partnership with them over the last five years. It has been a real pleasure and a lot of fun sharing Loungers with Piper, who exit with the business in a truly excellent place.

“From these strong foundations we look forward to the next phase of growth with Lion Capital, who share our excitement and passion about the future and have the experience to help us continue fulfilling our potential.

“We have known the Lion team for some time, and their experience in working with Wagamama and other companies in the leisure, food and retail sector will be a huge benefit as we enter the next phase of our expansion.”