A new business formed by private equity firm Epiris has concluded a deal to take control of the Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge restaurant businesses, in concert with the existing management team led by CEO James Spragg.
In a process handled by AlixPartners, the business formerly known as Casual Dining Group (CDG) was acquired from administration, preserving more than 4,000 jobs across the UK and over 150 restaurants trading as Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge.
The new business, through which Epiris has made the acquisition, is to be called The Big Table.
The Big Table moniker is a reference to a far-reaching internal culture programme at the former CDG business that championed togetherness, diversity and inclusivity amongst all members of its business.
Epiris has invested significant cash into the business to help spark a rapid unlocking of the group’s operations, with its restaurant businesses starting to reopen across the UK next week.
It has also made a further commitment for future funding. The new business will carry no external debt.
Mr Spragg said: “This is a very positive outcome for the business. We are delighted to have concluded this process and to be working with such experienced and knowledgeable investors. We inevitably emerge from this process as a leaner business, and one that is now equipped to navigate the challenges the industry faces, safeguarding thousands of jobs.”
AlixPartners said it had received a significant level of interest in the group after news of its administration emerged.
Clare Kennedy, director of AlixPartners, said: “We are extremely pleased to have been able to help the group find a new investment partner with such strong industry credentials and we wish both parties and everybody who works at The Big Table all the very best for a successful future.”
The management team, led by Mr Spragg, with Adrian Walker as CFO, will look to reopen the business over the coming months.
The group plans to open as many restaurants as possible during August – in time to get behind the UK Government’s national Eat Out to Help Out initiative.
Mr Spragg added: “This has been an extremely difficult and unsettling time for our teams and we’re pleased to now be planning to reopen our doors and re-focus our attention on what we do best, creating great experiences for our guests.”
Epiris is a private equity firm that invests in opportunities to transform businesses in partnership with exceptional management teams.
It targets control positions in UK-headquartered businesses with an enterprise value of between £75m and £500m, deploying between £40m and £150m of equity.
The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The Casual Dining Group entered administration at the start of July, closing 91 of its sites and making 1,900 staff redundant.