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Wed 22nd May 2019 - Pret A Manger agrees to acquire EAT, as many sites as possible will convert to Veggie Pret
Pret A Manger agrees to acquire EAT, as many sites as possible will convert to Veggie Pret: Pret A Manger, the JAB Holdings-owned chain, has reached an agreement to buy circa 90-strong rival EAT, which was placed on the market earlier this year. Pret said in response to growing consumer demand for more vegetarian and vegan options on the high street, it plans to convert as many of EAT’s stores as possible to Veggie Prets – 75% of EAT’s estate is in London, with many close to an existing Pret. The first permanent Veggie Pret launched in September 2016 and has since expanded to three further locations in London and Manchester. Pret chief executive Clive Schlee said: “The purpose of this deal is to serve a growing demand of vegetarian and vegan customers who want delicious, high-quality food and drink options. We have been developing the Veggie Pret concept for more than two years and now have four hugely successful shops across London and Manchester. The acquisition of the EAT estate is a wonderful opportunity to turbocharge the development of Veggie Pret and put significant resources behind it.” EAT chief executive Andrew Walker said: “EAT’s passionate and talented team is what makes the business. Its commitment to providing customers with great food and excellent service is at the heart of the company’s outstanding recent performance. I am delighted its efforts have been recognised through this transaction. It has been a privilege to lead EAT for the past three years and I believe this acquisition creates new opportunities for employees and customers alike.” EAT chairman Andrew Aylwin added: “Pret is a fantastic brand and this transaction represents a strong strategic fit, with benefits for all concerned. I would like to thank Andrew Walker and his team for the outstanding job they have done revitalising the brand and business in the past few years and the company’s shareholders and lenders for their support.” EAT backers Horizon Capital, formerly Lyceum, appointed Spayne Lindsay earlier this year to advise on a sale of the business. Last year EAT, which was founded in 1996 by former hedge fund manager Niall MacArthur and his wife Faith, underwent a restructure, which saw about 10% of its estate disposed of. The company revised its store portfolio to focus on strategically selected, high-footfall locations, with stores opening in Madrid airport, Gare du Nord and Liverpool Street station. The international expansion has continued in 2019, with openings in Barcelona, Malaga, Alicante and Bahrain airports, and Marne-la-Vallée and Gare de Nantes stations in France.

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