Livingbridge, the leading mid-market private equity business, has completed a £9.8m investment in French restaurant group Le Bistrot Pierre, the Group’s first investment from its new, £220m, Enterprise 2 fund.
Established as a single franchise restaurant in Nottingham in 1994 by school friends Robert Beacham and John Whitehead, Le Bistrot Pierre provides customers with great value, authentic French cooking in a relaxing, lively atmosphere. The business now has a family of 14 bistrots located across a variety of locations, from large city centres such as Cardiff and coastal bistrots in Torquay to shopping centres in Newport and market towns like Leamington Spa.
The business is growing strongly, delivering record revenues of £18m and profits in excess of £2m in 2015, and will use the investment from Livingbridge to accelerate its restaurant roll out plans and optimise its existing estate. New restaurant openings in Birmingham and the Mumbles, Swansea are already earmarked for the first half of 2016 and the Group is aiming for significant expansion of the estate in the coming years.
The deal is the first from Livingbridge’s Enterprise 2 fund which completed in October 2015. The fund will target fast growth SMEs in the UK, investing in growth equity and buyout transactions of profitable companies initially requiring up to £10m of equity capital. The investment in Le Bistrot Pierre is also Livingbridge’s second deal in the restaurant sector having invested in Pho, the Vietnamese restaurant chain, in 2012.
The transaction was led by Benoit Broch, Nick Holt and Oliver Mauldridge from Livingbridge. Le Bistrot Pierre was advised by Sam Fuller, Katherine Hobbs and Arthur Callaghan at Altium.
Commenting on the deal, Joint Managing Director John Whitehead said: “We are excited by Livingbridge’s endorsement of our business and, with their investment, look forward to expanding our estate and opening more successful bistrots. The whole process leading up to the deal has been smooth and we are now relishing this new phase of growth with our partners “
Benoit Broch, Director at Livingbridge, added: “Le Bistrot Pierre is precisely the sort of business that we love working with – they have a fantastic management team, a proven business model and a really differentiated offering and we are really excited about our future partnership with them having had the pleasure of getting to know Robert, John and the team over the past year. This deal really demonstrates Livingbridge’s continued commitment and enthusiasm for the eating and drinking out market and we look forward to building on our growing presence in this space.”