Friday, 22 February 2008

£50 Million windfall for two co-founders

The two co-founders of Pret A Manger in 1986, Julian Metcalfe & Sinclair Beecham, are expected to pocket at least £50 million from the sale of the business to Bridgepoint Capital in a £350 million deal.

However, the two co-founders are thought to be leaving a similar amount in the company in a complex earnout deal, which, depending on performance, could boost the headline price closer to the £400 million they had hoped for.

McDonald's, is understood to be selling its entire 33% holding it bought a few years ago in Pret A Manger to Bridgepoint. The management team, led by Larry Billet, the chairman, and Clive Schlee, the chief executive, will stay with the business and with the co-founders will have a 25% stake.

Bridgepoint, which beat off competition from the rival private equity firms Advent International and Morgan Stanley Private Equity, has secured debt funding from Rabobank worth an estimated £175 million.

The acquisition of Pret by Bridgepoint, which is being advised by Goldman Sachs, bolsters a portfolio of consumer-facing brands that includes Pets at Home, Fat Face, Molton Brown and Virgin Active.

Mr Metcalfe and Mr Beecham, who were college friends, opened the first Pret outlet in 1986 to sell freshly prepared sandwiches using only natural, preservative-free ingredients. The chain has about 180 shops in Britain, 14 in New York , 10 in Hong Kong and a single outlet in Singapore. (source: Timesonline) - PRET to be sold

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