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Takeover season for UK restaurant chains

UK high street dining saw some major consolidation last week as Nando’s agreed a £30 million takeover of Clapham House, owner of the Gourmet Burger Kitchen and The Real Greek.

The news broke on the same day that pub group Mitchells & Butlers announced a £20m acquisition of Ha-Ha Bar & Grill from The Bay Restaurant Group as part of a long-term strategy to expand its food-led business.

Commenting on the deal, a Nando’s statement said: “Significant investment and time are needed to re-invigorate Clapham House’s businesses”, while Clapham House itself admitted to a “volatile weekly trading performance”.

The takeover sees Nando’s, which operates 234 restaurants across the UK & Ireland, take on Clapham House’s 53 branches of Gourmet Burger Kitchen across the UK, with a further 14 abroad, as well as the group’s six London branches of The Real Greek.

Meanwhile this major addition to M&B’s portfolio will see the end of the Ha-Ha brand. Under current plans, 12 of the 22 sites will be converted into All Bar One branches, six will fall under the Brown’s brand and the remaining four venues will operate as other M&B brands.

M&B chief executive Adam Fowle said: “Whilst small, this acquisition illustrates our ability and our strategy to develop sites to create value for Mitchells & Butlers shareholders.

“It will also provide an excellent opportunity to grow significantly two strong brands, All Bar One and Browns.”

The acquisition of Ha-Ha from The Bay Restaurant Group, which also owns the Slug & Lettuce and La Tasca chains, is due to be completed on 3 October.

Gabriel Savage, 21.09.2010

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