One of Britain’s biggest casual eateries is to start testing buyers’ appetites for a deal next year in a move that could see chains such as Ash and Coco di Mama change hands.
Sky News has learned that the Azzurri Group, which is owned by Towerbrook Capital Partners, has entered into talks with investment bankers about an auction that would be launched sometime next year.
The Azzurri operate around 220 sites across the UK and employ thousands of people.
It also owns the Zizzi chain and recently acquired Boojum, an Irish-based restaurant concept.
A source said Rothschild was in the process of being appointed to handle the process.
Towerbrook took control of the casual dining chains at the height of the pandemic in 2020, when the company – like many others in the sector – went through a pre-pack administration.
The brands had previously been owned by Bridgepoint, another private equity firm.
A change of ownership would make the Azzurri the latest in a series of deals in the sector.
Wagamana’s owner, The Restaurant Group (TRG), recently sold chains such as Garfunkel’s and Frankie & Benny’s to The Big Table, another restaurant holding company.
TRG is itself in the process of being sold to Apollo Global Management.
Towerbrook and the Azzurri declined to comment.