Wagamama and Rex Restaurants investor adds Hawksmoor chain to its portfolio

Popular London restaurant chain Hawksmoor has decided to fund itself using private equity capital, and has signed up Graphite Capital as a backer.

Friends and family investors are set to realise investments in steak restaurant business Hawksmoor following a management buy-out (MBO).

Graphite Capital is leading the private equity deal, the firm’s third commitment in the sector.

Set up by friends Will Beckett and Huw Gott, Hawksmoor has grown to four London steak restaurants. The founders are reinvesting through the deal alongside non-executive director Paul Campbell.

Beckett explains that Graphite’s investment allows the friends and family who initially backed the restaurant concept to realise their investments. It’s four London restaurants are located in Spitalfields, Covent Garden, Guildhall and Regent Street.

‘We’re thrilled to have found an investor who understands the industry and its challenges and who has really taken the time to understand the business and who run it,’ he adds.

Graphite Capital invested in noodle bar chain Wagamama in its early stages and grew its turnover from £2.5 million to £45 million. It was then sold through a secondary buy-out to Lion Capital for £103 million in 2005, generating a 12.8x return on investment. Other restaurant-related activity for Graphite Capital saw it invest in Rex Restaurants Associates, a group which counts The Wolesley and The Delauney as locations.

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Markus Golser, senior partner at Graphite Capital, says that the Hawksmoor investment is an ‘exciting opportunity’.

‘We were impressed by the young, highly-motivated team which as successfully created a popular premium restaurant concept during very difficult economic times,’ he comments.

‘Their focus on consistently delivering high quality food and drink to a discerning customer base will underpin future growth.’

Graphite Capital’s current fund, Graphite Capital Partners VII, is a £585 million pot which was raised in 2007.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

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

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