Las Iguanas sold to rival group for £85m

Las Iguanas

The owner of the Bella Italia and Café Rouge chains has reinforced its high street presence by acquiring American-themed restaurant chain Las Iguanas.

The Casual Dining Group (CDG) is understood to have paid £85m for the business, which currently operates 41 restaurants in the UK.

Steve Richards, chief executive of CDG, said the brand would enhance its offering as it looks to create a much larger group.

“Las Iguanas is a proven, high-quality restaurant business that has been carefully developed over 25 years. It is clearly differentiated and is positioned for significant further growth. It fits perfectly with our strategy to create a scalable restaurant group comprising compelling brands, with broad appeal, which deliver industry-leading consumer and financial metrics.”

CDG is the new name for Tragus Group, which last year underwent a period of restructuring and sold off 43 Strada sites for £37m.

Mos Shamel, chief executive of Las Iguanas, will join the CDG board and continue in his role of developing the brand. He joined the company 12 years ago when it had just six sites. “I’m looking forward to the next stage of its development and growth as part of CDG,” he said.

Las Iguanas started small in a quiet Bristol street in 1991 and became something of a local institution before founder Eren Ali took the brand national.

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