Friday 24 August 2018 10:56 am

Exclusive: Banking groups Investec and SC Lowy move to rescue Gaucho after buying up debt

Two banking groups are closing in on an acquisition of Gaucho after buying out debt from the collapsed restaurant chain's other lenders, City A.M. understands.

Investec and Hong Kong-based SC Lowy are now moving to buy Gaucho from administrators Deloitte after buying the debt of other lending banks in Gaucho's syndicate.

An Investec spokesperson told City A.M.: "Investec and SC Lowy have acquired all of the debt in Gaucho from the other banks in the original lending syndicate. Investec has supported Gaucho since 2016 and SC Lowy have joined as new lenders – we both believe strongly in the Gaucho business and are working hard to execute a transaction to acquire Gaucho from the administrator."

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A spokesperson for SC Lowy also confirmed the debt sale and move to buy the business. Investec is a shareholder in SC Lowy.

Gaucho's chief executive Oliver Meakin said in an email to staff on Tuesday seen by City A.M. that this was "really positive news" for the business. "Investec and SC Lowy can see the opportunity in owning the Gaucho business, given the fantastic brand and colleagues."

The restaurant group fell into administration in July after advisers at KPMG were unable to sell it to a new owner, despite several parties rumoured to be interested.

All 22 sites of diffusion brand Cau have already closed leaving just the core Gaucho brand and its 16 restaurants.

Gaucho released a statement earlier this month reassuring customers that it was "business at usual", with the restaurants still open for trading while the sales process is ongoing.

Gaucho's management was contacted for comment.

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