Brighton restaurant owner sells up

The owner of three Brighton restaurants has sold up, banking a £400 million profit on the sale of the overall business.

Venture capital firm Cinven sold two chains – Ask and Zizzi – both of which have a presence in Brighton.

Ask has an outlet in Ship Street while Zizzi is in Prince Albert Street and at Brighton Marina.

Another private equity firm, Bridgepoint, paid £250 million for the 109 branches of Ask and the 136 Zizzi restaurants.

Cinven owned the restaurant chains as part of a business known as Gondola, which also included Pizza Express and the Byron burger chain.

Pizza Express has premises in Church Road, Hove, and three Brighton branches in Prince Albert Steet, Jubilee Street and at Brighton Marina.

Cinven said that Ask and Zizzi had performed well over the past three years with 22 per cent compound growth in earnings before earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (ebitda).

And the growth had been achieved “despite the challenging consumer environment”.

The deal was finalised yesterday (Monday 1 December)

The total proceeds from the sale of Gondola are about £1.3 billion – a multiple of 2.4 times for Cinven on the money that it spent buying the group in 2006, the company said.

Cinven invested about £290 million when it bought Gondola, formerly a publicly traded company.

It sold Byron to the private equity firm Hutton Collins in 2013 for about £100 million.

Pizza Express was sold for about £900 million in July to Hony Capital, the Beijing firm, which plans to expand the chain throughout China.

Cinven said that the sale of the rest of the Gondola Holdings restaurants portfolio had earned the firm a total profit of circa £400 million.

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