New owner and fresh investment for authentic pizza chain

Pizza chain Rossopomodoro could be about to take a bigger slice of the market after the group it is part of was sold to private equity firm OpCapita.

Rossopomodoro belongs to Sebeto Group, a leading operator of casual dining restaurants in Italy and 11 other countries, which this week was offloaded by its previous London-based owner Change Capital Partners.

Rossopomodoro is one of the best-known restaurant chains in Italy, with a strong identity and a high brand awareness. It has more than 60 branches across the country and more than 20 outlets internationally, including the UK, US, Germany, Denmark and Turkey.

It also has a partnership with Eataly, the upmarket Italian food retailer, to provide a pizza offering in Eataly’s international branches, the latest of which was Stockholm.

Sebeto operates four other brands in addition to Rossopomodoro, with a total of more than 140 restaurants globally.

OpCapita sees significant potential to further improve and grow the Rossopomodoro brand. In Italy, the aim is to reinforce its position as the country’s leading domestic pizza chain, leveraging what it calls “favourable” market conditions. It insists that modern, casual dining is growing rapidly, with multi-site operators gaining a progressively stronger market share.

Joshua Spoerri, managing director at OpCapita, said: “Rossopomodoro is an excellent concept with a strong Neapolitan heritage that has firmly established itself as the number one Italian pizza chain in the country and the only international Italian restaurant chain with genuine Italian provenance.

“It has a strong potential for further growth and we are truly excited to cooperate with [founders] Franco [Manna] and Pippo [Montella] in moving it to the next level, ensuring access to the necessary financial resources and reinforcing the management team with the strategic and operational competence provided by [new executive deputy chairman] Marco [Airoldi] and [new CEO] Roberto [Colombo].”

Sebeto’s founders and shareholders Franco Manna and Pippo Montella will continue to serve on the board and form an integral part of the team. Mr Manna will continue his duties as chairman, with Mr Montella handling the company’s key supplier relationships.

The acquisition of Sebeto is the third investment by OpCapita Consumer Opportunities Fund II and marks the firm’s first investment in Italy. The Fund has previously backed The Football Pools, the UK gaming operator, and Merkal Calzados, a leading Spanish footwear retailer.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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