EAT acquired by growth investors Lyceum Capital

Company plans to open new stores across country


Mid-market growth investor Lyceum Capital has acquired a controlling stake in coffee shop outlet EAT. The Real Food Company, it has been announced.

The transaction will see Lyceum Capital invest alongside the founders and management to support a significant store roll-out and brand development programme.

Founded in 1996, EAT has established itself as one of the leading brands in the £3bn specialist food and coffee ‘to go’ market and has 110 stores across the UK. The company recorded sales of more than £85m in the past financial year, up from £68m in 2008.

Lyceum Capital will now help the founders and management accelerate a store opening programme in the UK which could support well over 300 branches. The strategy will also develop the business and brand in the UK and internationally, based on its leading product ranges.

Founders Faith and Niall MacArthur will retain a substantial shareholding along with other management, and the deal will see investment specialist Penta Capital sell its interests in the business. Pentra bought EAT for £39m in 2005 when the company had just 45 outlets in the UK.

According to MacArthur, the deal is at the core of EAT’s growth strategy: “This deal marks the next major stage in EAT’s development and will be the catalyst for an expansion programme that will see us extend our reach throughout the UK and continue to develop our successful brand proposition.”

© Crimson Business. Ltd 2011

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