Sodexo splashes big with £500m takeover of rival caterer

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 13:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers runs onto the field to warm up before their game against the Miami Dolphins at Bank of America Stadium on November 13, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Sodexo has shaken up the contract catering market by splashing out $675m (£513m) to acquire sports and leisure catering specialist Centerplate from private equity firm Olympus Partners.

The acquisition doubles the size of Sodexo’s sports catering business in one move.

Centerplate is the fourth largest operator by revenues in the US sports and leisure market, which is the largest market globally.

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It serves stadiums and arenas, annually hosting more than 116 million guests across its portfolio of premier venues for marquee events, including 14 Super Bowls, 36 US Presidential Inaugural Balls, All-Star and Championship games for professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, collegiate athletics, and many of North America’s largest conventions.

Centerplate made revenues of $998m (£758m) for the year to June 2017, while Sodexo’s sales for the sports and leisure segment specifically totalled €903m (£809m).

In the UK, Sodexo said the acquisition supports its strategy to grow its stadia and cultural destination portfolio.

Chris Verros, CEO of Centerplate, will lead the new combined business in the US, while Centerplate’s European operations will be integrated into Sodexo’s existing Sports & Leisure business in the region.

Pierre Henry, vice-president of the Group Executive Committee and CEO Sports & Leisure Worldwide for Sodexo, said: “This acquisition is another step in our long-term strategy to become a leading player in every market in which we are present. Centerplate is an ideal partner with highly professional, dedicated teams who bring a wealth of industry expertise.”

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