Japanese food chain Wagamama to be sold for more than £200m

JAPANESE noodle chain Wagamama is expected to be sold to private equity firm Duke Street Capital within the next two weeks, in a deal worth over £200m.

The chain’s current owner, Lion Capital, is currently in talks with the firm with a view to striking a deal.

Lion had looked to sell Wagamama earlier last year, after it appointed investment bank Rothschild to advise on the process.

The private equity firm had previously considered an initial public offering for the firm in 2007, yet aborted its efforts due to choppy stockmarket conditions.

Wagamama has expanded rapidly in recent years. It now operates more than 60 restaurants in the UK and almost 40 overseas, including in Australia and the US.

The group’s eateries in London have been known to turn over 12 sittings a day.

Founded in 1992 in London by entrepreneur Alan Yau, the firm made more than £15m in pre-tax profits in the year to April 2010.

Yau sold out to Graphite Capital and entrepreneur Rory McCarthy in 1998, before Lion bought a majority stake from Graphite for £103m in 2005.