Devon-based Pasta King, which serves meals hot from “pasta bars”, has been acquired from its incumbent management and Matrix Private Equity Partners (MPEP), which received £5.7 million proceeds for the MPEP VCT from the sale, representing a return of 3.2 times the fund’s original investment and an IRR of 47 per cent.
Pasta King’s new managing director Howard Farquhar and chairman Mike Cole, both of whom have worked with NBGI before, are leading the MBI, with the private equity firm acquiring a majority stake in the company.
Says Farquhar, ‘Pasta King has a very strong position in secondary schools. We want to build on that with improved merchandising, marketing and product development not only for further growth in the education sector but also to significantly increase our presence in other markets.’
MPEP partner Bob Henry, who was on the board of Pasta King, says the company has benefited from ‘the Jamie Oliver effect’, referring to the celebrity chef’s public campaign for healthier school meals.
Bank debt for the deal was provided by HSBC Leveraged Finance.