🍽️ Frankie, Benny and Chiquito
In today’s email:
Is Amazon just too big?
Huawei is fighting with Portugal
Instantly become a concert pianist
All the best restaurants in the world
Google’s bugging people with Google
How to expand your mind (but legally)
Sportech’s going from public to private
… and more!
EDITOR’S RAMBLE 🗣
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FEATURED REPORT 📰
🍽️ Frankie, Benny and Chiquito
What’s going on here?
The Restaurant Group — or TRG (who own Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito) is selling these chains to a rival.
The buyer is Big Table (who own Cafe Rouge, Las Iguanas and Bella Italia).
But, in a mad twist, TRG (the seller) is actually paying Big Table (the buyer) £7.5m to take the restaurants off its hands.
Wait, so they’re paying their rival £7.5m to take the restaurants?!
Yeah, it’s a bit of an odd situation.
How does that make sense?
Well, it’s a desperate move for sure.
The reason is that the 75 sites TRG is selling were all underperforming badly.
In fact, sales at those sites were so bad that it was damaging the overall finances of TRG as a group.
The deal has reportedly saved TRG £50m in rent that it would have had to pay for those 75 sites.
So, what are TRG’s big plans?
Katsu curry…. well, Wagamama.
TRG owns Wagamama and it’s by far its most profitable restaurant.
The money saved from selling the failing restaurants will be put towards Wags — TRG plans to open six more this year and 10 more in 2024.
Why are Frankie and Benny’s and Chiquito suffering so badly?
Generally, eating out in the UK has fallen because of soaring inflation which is putting pressure on consumer spending.
Some chains, like these two, suffered more than others.
Who was involved?
🏢 Slaughter and May advised TRG, the seller.
🏢 Macfarlanes advised Big Table, the buyer.
What role do the lawyers play?
🏢 Slaughter and May: Acting for the seller (TRG), the sort of thing they’d be doing is:
💽 Ensuring all of the relevant data for the target companies is available in an online data room (think a Google Drive folder) for the buyer to review.
👥 Informing any of the staff working at the transferring sites about the deal and its impacts on them.
💼 Negotiating the share purchase agreements with the buyer's legal team to protect TRG's interests (and agreeing any services that the seller should provide in the transitional period after the sale’s complete).
🖊️ Finalising the documents and overseeing the transfer of assets (although this hasn’t happened yet — see the section below called ‘Has the deal been completed?’).
🏢 Macfarlanes: Acting for the buyer (Big Table), they’d be doing things like:
📝 Preparing the first draft of the share purchase agreement.
🧐 Conducting due diligence on the assets being acquired to identify potential risks or liabilities.
🤝 Engaging in negotiations with the seller's legal team to ensure the best terms for Big Table Group.
⚖️ Ensuring compliance with regulatory and legal standards related to the acquisition (especially relating to the transfer of employees).
🌐 Advising on the corporate integration of the newly acquired brands into Big Table’s existing group of companies.
What are the parties saying?
🗣️ Andy Hornby, CEO of TRG, said: “A sale of our leisure business significantly accelerates our medium-term strategic plans to increase adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) margins and reduce leverage.”
🗣️ Alan Morgan, CEO of Big Table, said: “Creating, developing and acquiring brands that complement our existing portfolio whilst offering widespread consumer appeal is a fundamental part of our growth strategy.”
Has the deal been completed?
Nope, the deal’s expected to complete later this year.
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A BIT OF FUN 😄
The most beautiful words in the English language 💕
IN OTHER NEWS 🗞
📱 Huawei (the Chinese tech giant) is not having a great time in Portugal — they’ve sued the country over bans on their products. The lawsuit is against a ban preventing their equipment in Portugal's 5G networks. Why the suspicion? Portugal’s accusations include espionage and hacking. Despite these challenges, Huawei's still a global 5G leader. Oh, and they're also in a legal tiff with Sweden.
🛍️ The FTC (the US competition regulator) is gearing up to sue Amazon over competition violations. The lawsuit, stemming from years of investigations, could make Amazon split up into smaller business units because it’s said to be stifling competition. While the FTC points fingers at Amazon's business practices, Amazon defends itself by highlighting benefits to customers through their scale.
🎲 Sportech is considering stepping off the AIM market in London because of the hefty costs (financial and otherwise) of remaining a public company. Based in Edinburgh, the company's got a presence in Connecticut, US with sports bars and online gaming platforms. They've also returned a nice chunk of capital to shareholders recently. But the big news? Shareholders will soon decide if they're on board with Sportech going private. The company’s being advised by Scotland-based law firm, Dickson Minto.
🔍 Google's 90% hold on the search engine market is under the microscope in a big competition trial starting tomorrow in the US. The main beef? The US Department of Justice isn't happy about Google's deals making it the default search on devices. Though Google says users can switch, if you’ve tried you’ll know it's not very simple.
AROUND THE WEB 🌐
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