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Pret a Manger ‘working on deal to acquire Eat’
Posted on Thursday, 16 May 2019 14:07
UK sandwich retail chain Pret a Manger has entered discussions over a possible acquisition of domestic peer Eat, according to multiple sources.

Both the Financial Times and the London Evening Standard picked up on the news, with the former saying that, although no agreement has been signed as yet, details are in the process of being ironed out.

The latter noted that the talks are at an advanced stage and could see the buyer pick up all, or the majority of, Eat’s 94 locations.

According to the news providers, Pret’s desire to buy Eat is in line with its plans to move into the vegetarian and vegan markets.

The chain has already introduced a number of Veggie Prets, which do not serve meat products, as an entry point into the segment.

According to the Financial Times, which cited a person familiar with the matter, the buyer intends to use the Eat locations to expand the number of vegetarian/vegan only locations.

None of the companies involved have commented on the report as yet.

Eat was first named as a possible candidate for sale back in February, when Sky News reported that the company’s owners, which include majority shareholder Horizon Capital, had appointed Spayne Lindsay to advise on a divestment.

According to the broadcaster, the vendor’s decision to focus on the technology and business services fields was a factor in its decision to jettison the chain.

Pret has itself recently been the target of an acquisition; in May 2018, JAB Holdings signed on the dotted line to pay GBP 1.50 billion for the business.

That deal was cleared by the European Commission in September.

Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, shows the largest deal targeting restaurants and other eating places to have been announced worldwide since the beginning of 2019 is worth USD 1.73 billion.

That transaction saw PAI Partners picking up Spain-headquartered Areas from Elior Group.

In all, companies based in the sector have been targeted in 289 deals worth a combined USD 7.12 billion so far this year. In 2018, USD 24.94 billion was injected across 916 deals, compared to the 783 worth USD 30.46 billion signed off in 2017.

© Zephus Ltd