City-based bar-restaurant group Drake & Morgan closes £30 million MBO

A second restaurant-based management buy-out of the week has seen Drake & Morgan complete a £30 million deal with help from Bowmark Capital.

Mid-market private equity firm Bowmark Capital has backed the management buy-out (MBO) of Drake & Morgan, a London-based bar and restaurant group.

The £30 million transaction follows on from the £50 million deal which saw LDC support the management team of D&D London with its buy-out.

Drake & Morgan was founded in 2008 by the Imbiba Partnership, a bar and restaurant investment partnership, and leisure entrepreneur Jillian MacLean to create a new chain of bar-restuarants in London.

Its first site was The Refinery in Southwark, and it has since gone on to open four further locations including The Folly – and has plans for two more later in 2013.

As part of the £30 million MBO, Bowmark Capital has committed further funds to support Drake & Morgan’s roll-out strategy, alongside a debt package from RBS Financial Sponsors.

MacLean says, ‘We are very excited about the next phase of our growth strategy and, with Bowmark’s support and financial backing, we look forward to accelerating the roll-out of the company, both in central London and in other locations across the country.’

The deal for Bowmark Capital is the first since a June 2012 MBO worth £60 million involving independent provider of fertility services CARE Fertility Group.

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Ron Pearson, partner at Bowmark Capital, comments, ‘Drake & Morgan represents an appealing proposition for both customers and landlords, and is led by one of the best management teams in the hospitality sector.

‘We believe the business has significant potential for further growth, and look forward to working with Jillian and her team to scale the business.’

As part of the MBO, John Connell, founder of Imbiba, will continue with his role as chairman, with fellow Imbiba partners, Simon Wheeler and Mark Brumby, retaining a minority stake.

Connell adds, ‘Drake & Morgan has now combined its “start-up stage” following which the dynamics of the company will change and it is now time to hand over to new owners to move the company to a more mature level.

‘We have known Bowmark for a long time and have been impressed by their understanding and approach to the sector.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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