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EG Group Buys U.K.’s Leon Restaurants in Growth Push

Greg Ritchie
·1-min read

(Bloomberg) -- EG Group, the gas-station operator owned by the Issa brothers, bought British fresh fast-food chain Leon Restaurants in the latest leg of its expansion drive.

EG Group said it will invest in the Leon brand and develop its menu, with plans to open around 20 new sites per year from 2022. It also sees potential to market Leon’s products across its convenience retail stores. The deal valued the restaurant chain at 100 million pounds ($138 million) including debt, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the transaction.

“EG Group continues to identify innovative partnerships and acquisitions that complement our existing consumer offer and enable us to stay at the forefront of consumer trends, particularly in food service,” Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the company’s co-founders, said in a joint statement. “Our equity investment in Leon is to strengthen our own participation in the fast-growing contemporary food service segment.”

The deal adds to the turbocharged expansion by EG Group, which has fueled its growth at breakneck speed in the debt markets since 2017. The Issa brothers also own U.K. supermarket chain Asda Group Ltd.

EG Group pursued its first privately placed bond transaction earlier this year to raise funds for an acquisition spree. It acquired around 140 million pounds of loans from Swiss private equity firm Partners Group to finance a purchase of coffee chain Caffe Nero, the Telegraph newspaper reported, without indicating the source of the information.

(Corrects ownership of Asda in fourth paragraph.)

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