Asda owner EG Group buys Leon Restaurants for £100m

Issa brothers see potential to add company's products to its convenience stores, according to reports

Mohsin and Zuber Issa's EG Group have bought Leon and raised debt from Switzerland's Partners Group to finance a purchase of debt owed by Caffe Nero in a deal that would give them control of the coffee retail business. Courtesy Euro Garages
Mohsin and Zuber Issa's EG Group have bought Leon and raised debt from Switzerland's Partners Group to finance a purchase of debt owed by Caffe Nero in a deal that would give them control of the coffee retail business. Courtesy Euro Garages

EG Group, the fuel station operator owned by the Issa brothers, bought British fresh fast-food chain Leon Restaurants in the latest leg of its expansion drive.

EG Group said it will invest in the Leon brand and develop its menu, with plans to open around 20 new sites per year from 2022. It also sees potential to market Leon’s products across its convenience retail stores. The deal valued the restaurant chain at £100 million ($138m) including debt, the Financial Times reported.

“EG Group continues to identify innovative partnerships and acquisitions that complement our existing consumer offer and enable us to stay at the forefront of consumer trends, particularly in food service,” Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the company’s co-founders, said in a joint statement. “Our equity investment in Leon is to strengthen our own participation in the fast-growing contemporary food service segment.”

The deal adds to the turbocharged expansion by EG Group, which owns the UK supermarket chain Asda Group. The company has fuelled its growth at breakneck speed in the debt markets since 2017.

EG Group pursued its first privately-placed bond transaction earlier this year to raise funds for an acquisition spree. It acquired around £140 million of loans from Swiss private equity firm Partners Group to finance a purchase of coffee chain Caffe Nero, the Telegraph newspaper reported.

Updated: April 19, 2021 07:43 AM

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