Pret a Manger-owner Bridgepoint to buy Zizzi and Ask for £250m

Oliver Smith
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Cinven has made a lot of dough from the sale of Ask and Zizzi
Private equity giant Cinven has agreed to sell its portfolio of Ask Italian and Zizzi restaurants to Pret a Manger-owner Bridgepoint for £250m.

The deal marks Cinven’s exit from the Gondola Group after it sold both its Pizza Express and Byron restaurant chains over the past 18 months for around £1bn combined.

Cinven took the Gondola Group private in 2007 as part of a £900m deal, and yesterday’s sale of Zizzi and Ask marks total sales of Gondola’s assets of £1.3bn. Overall it is believed to have achieved a multiple of about 2.5 times its original investment.

“We are very proud to have worked with the high calibre management team at Gondola to deliver the growth strategy and accelerate the roll-out of the group’s different rest­aur­ant brands, not only in the UK but also internationally,” said Cinven’s Peter Catterall.

Yesterday’s sale closes Cinven’s investment in Gondola Group’s assets, which is has sought to sell off in recent years.

In July, it sold Pizza Express and its 436 restaurants for around £900m to Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital. Last October, Cinven sold Gondola’s 34 Byron hamburger restaurants for around £100m to Hutton Collins Partners.

Gondola chief exec Harvey Smyth said yesterday: “Ask and Zizzi enjoyed significant investment in their brands which in combination with an excellent management team has driven its performance in the past three years.”

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