Fast food group has its eyes on $1bn Pret takeover, report says

Horizons predicts foodservice trends for 2016

A Filipino fast food group is reportedly plotting a takeover bid worth around £740m for 444-strong upmarket sandwich chain Pret A Manger.

Jollibee, a popular fast food chain with a network of 2,700 outlets, has held talks with an advisor regarding an offer for Pret, according to a Reuters report which cited unidentified sources.

The Filipino group is said to have valued Pret at about £740m and a successful bid would mark further global expansion for Jollibee, which acquired 40% of US chain Smashburger in 2015, indicating an appetite for high-end food-to-go chains.

Jollibee operates the largest foodservice network in the Philippines and outsells both McDonald’s and KFC in the territory. Meanwhile, Pret, which is owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint, reported a turnover of £776m in 2016 and is a key player in the UK foodservice market.

Jollibee declined to comment on Pret but said acquisition of new businesses was part of its growth strategy, according to the report. Pret is reported to have said it was “unable to comment on market rumours” when asked.

“Very few selected companies reach completion‎ of acquisition, while the vast majority of potential targets does not,” chief financial officer Ysmael V. Baysa told Reuters . Baysa said Jollibee had not submitted a formal or informal bid for any company in recent months.

Pret opened 50 new shops during 2016, including 31 in the UK, with the 500th set to open over the next 12 months.

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