Cruise.co Holdings and Red Hot World Buffet acquired by Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners

Ex-Pizza Express and Strada boss’ private equity firm takes majority stakes in both UK businesses

Equity investment firm Risk Capital Partners (Risk Capital) has announced the acquisition of restaurant chain Red Hot World Buffet and online travel site Cruise.co Holdings Ltd.

The deals, which are undisclosed, will see Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners take majority equity stakes in both companies in order to provide growth capital for development and expansion.

Founded in 2004 by husband and wife team Parmijit and Helen Dhaliwal, Red Hot World Buffet offers a range of international foods in a buffet-style environment and has seven restaurants across the country.

The acquisition is set to enable it to improve and renovate its current sites and support the launch of a new Leicester outlet due to open in 2014.

Cruise Holdings runs both Cruise.co.uk and Cruises.co.uk and provides low cost cruise holidays to destinations across the world. It intends to utilise the investment to expand in the UK and overseas and is particularly looking to target the Irish and Australian markets where it claims there is “growing demand”.

It also plans to use the backing to strengthen its online offering.

In both cases, the existing management teams will remain but will see former Pizza Express and Strada boss Luke Johnson join the board as chairman.

Johnson discussed the announcement:

“It’s been a significant few days following the completion of both acquisitions and I am delighted that Risk Capital Partners can look forward to shaping the future of both Cruise.co and Red Hot World Buffet.

“For both [businesses], the key for us has been the emphasis placed on delivering value to the consumer. Both companies have impressed us with their vision and we look forward to supporting their ambitious growth plans.”

Parmijit Dhaliwal commented: “Risk Capital’s investment solidifies our growth ambitions and provides the financial and strategic support to help us capitalise our market offering. We are looking forward to what the future holds.”

Managing director of Cruise.co Holdings Seamus Conlon added: “We have spent some time getting to know Risk Capital Partners and are excited they have decided to invest in our business.”

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