"EG Group continues to identify innovative partnerships"
The billionaire Issa brothers have acquired fast-food chain Leon in a deal reportedly worth up to £100 million.
This comes after the Blackburn-based brothers bought Asda for £6.8 billion.
In a statement, Mohsin and Zuber Issa said:
“Leon is a fantastic brand that we have long admired.
“As established entrepreneurs in the food service retail market ourselves, we have a huge admiration for the business that John and the Leon team have built over the years, and firmly believe that their culture and values closely align with our own.
“The acquisition of Leon presents EG Group with a fantastic opportunity to further develop the menu offer, the various concession formats including drive-thrus and will enable us to significantly build on the existing network by exploring opportunities across our own sites along with other strategic locations.
“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 foodservice.
“Our equity investment in Leon is to strengthen our own participation in the fast-growing contemporary foodservice segment.
“This acquisition aligns with our commitment to being a committed foodservice operator globally, delivers financial benefit to our underlying business, and supports broader commercial strategies to be able to better realise further growth opportunities.”
Over 70 Leon restaurants across the UK and Europe have been sold to the brothers’ EG Group.
The deal includes 42 company-owned restaurants, as well as 29 franchise sites which are mainly found in airports and train stations.
EG Group is committed to keeping on Leon’s management team and staff.
John Vincent co-founded Leon, along with Henry Dimbleby and Allegra McEvedy in 2004.
He said: “In some ways, this is a sad day for me, to part company with the business I founded 17 years ago in Carnaby Street.
“But I have had the pleasure of getting to know Mohsin and Zuber across the last few years.
“They have been enthusiastic customers of Leon, going out of their way to eat here whenever they visit London.
“They are decent, hard-working business people who are committed to sustaining and further strengthening the values and culture that we have built at Leon, a business that has my Dad’s name above the door.
“Mohsin and Zuber will not just be superb custodians of the Leon brand, through EG Group they have the vision, investment appetite, foodservice expertise and network scale to take Leon to many more people and places.
“This is what Leon has always been built for and I am confident under the new ownership, the brand will flourish and have even greater appeal to a broader customer base, especially outside of London.
“Thousands of people have been part of creating Leon experience.”
“Each has left their mark, and I would like to thank everyone inside Leon, our partners and suppliers, and our guests who have visited us around 200 million times so far.
“We have tried hard, done some good things, made a healthy amount of mistakes, and built a business that quite a few people are kind enough to say that they love.”
The acquisition is complementary to EG Group’s strategy of seeking significant growth in its non-fuel and foodservice operations.
EG Group already operates more than 700 food outlets in the UK and Ireland, including branches and ‘drive-thrus’ for KFC, Starbucks and Greggs.
The Issa brothers’ EG Group plans to invest in the Leon brand.
It plans to open around 20 Leon outlets a year from 2022.