Penta gobbles up EAT

Sandwich and coffee bar operator EAT has completed a £39 million management buyout from 3i, with the aid of Glasgow-based private equity group Penta Capital.

3i first invested in EAT in 1997 (a year after the company’s formation) and has since helped founders Niall and Faith MacArthur grow the business into a 45-store operation. Following eight years of involvement, however, the venture capital behemoth has decided to realise its interest and, with Penta’s backing, the MacArthurs now hope to accelerate their expansion plans. Their aim is to increase the estate to 100 stores within three years.

The majority of these new openings are likely to be in London. ‘EAT is already a very well known brand in the capital,’ Torquil Macnaughton of Penta Capital states. ‘Probably two-thirds [of the new openings] will be there, with the remainder being spread throughout the UK’s other major cities.’

Having most recently helped grow – and subsequently oversee the AIM float of – tapas restaurant chain La Tasca on AIM, Penta views itself as a suitable backer for EAT at its current stage of development. ‘We already know the sector quite well thanks to our involvement with La Tasca,’ Macnaughton ventures, before adding that there is ‘a distinct possibility’ of EAT following that company to the market.

Leslie Copeland

Leslie Copeland

Leslie was made Editor for Growth Company Investor magazine in 2000, then headed up the launch of Business XL magazine, and then became Editorial Director in 2007 for the online and print publication portfolio...

Related Topics