Hawksmoor for sale in deal that could value restaurant chain at £100m – The Guardian

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The high-end steakhouse chain Hawksmoor has been put up for sale in a deal that could value it at about £100m.

The restaurant chain has hired the investment bank Stephens to start looking for potential suitors for the business, which is hoping to expand its overseas operation.

Hawksmoor, which was founded in 2006 by Will Beckett and Huw Gott, has expanded to 13 locations, including three outside the UK. Last week, it opened its first restaurant in Chicago, while also running sites in Dublin and New York.

Graphite Capital has owned a 51% stake in the company since 2013 after it paid £35m to support a management buyout by both founders.

The investment process, which was first reported by the Financial Times, will result in Beckett, who is the current chief executive, and Gott, who owns a minority stake, retaining their stake after a deal is concluded.

Hawksmoor did not comment on the sale but Beckett said: “We’ve got a great relationship with Graphite, and together we are getting to know the US investment community in more depth. As that continues, an opportunity may emerge that we wish to explore together.”

Beckett and Gott opened the first Hawksmoor restaurant in 2006 in Spitalfields, east London, before opening a second site in Covent Garden in 2010 and a third in the City of London in 2011.

Last week, Hawksmoor recorded turnover across the business for the 12 months up to April, with revenues hitting £90m, up 20% from the year before. The FT reported that a person close to the company had said underlying profits at the company were above £10m at the end of June.

The move comes three years after Hawksmoor shelved plans to float on the London Stock Exchange, citing broader uncertainty in the hospitality industry caused by supply chain disruption and labour shortages as the country exited pandemic lockdowns.

The potential deal follows several high-profile sales of restaurant chains in the past 12 months.

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The Restaurant Group, which owns Frankie & Benny’s and Wagamama, was taken private in October after accepting a £506m takeover offer from the US buyout group Apollo. In April last year, Fulham Shore, the owner of the Real Greek and Franca Manca, was bought by the Japanese restaurant operator Toridoll, in a deal worth £93m.

The news of a possible sale for Hawksmoor comes amid a difficult outlook for the wider restaurant and pub industry. Last month, figures from the trade body UKHospitality revealed that between 2021 and 2023, 22,859 businesses in the sector closed, while only 11,734 opened.

Graphite Capital said that it did not comment on market rumours.

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