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Fri 31st Jul 2020 - Byron sold in pre-pack administration, 31 sites to shut
Byron sold in pre-pack administration to investment vehicle Calveton, 31 sites to shut: Better burger brand Byron has been sold through a pre-pack administration to investment vehicle Calveton UK in a deal that will see 31 of the group’s 51 sites close. Calveton is backed by Sandeep Vyas and Haseeb Aziz and previously owned Style Group Brands, which includes the Jacques Vert brand. Vyas is set to become Byron chairman with the brand continuing to be led by chief executive Simon Wilkinson. The deal sees current backer Three Hills Capital’s stake in the company reduced to a minority one. Three Hills founder Mauro Moretti will step down as Byron chairman as part of the deal. The majority of the closures are set to be in London and will lead to 651 of the brand’s circa 1,200 staff being made redundant. Vyas said: “Byron is a pioneering brand much loved by customers across the UK. We are backing Byron because we believe it has great opportunity ahead of it, and it is well placed to adapt to the new consumer environment and dining trends. We will continue to bring Byron’s great-tasting food to customers in restaurants and via digital on-demand platforms, whether they are at work, home or on the high street and we look forward to working with the team.” Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, added: “In common with so many other companies across the leisure and casual dining industries, the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on Byron has been profound. After exploring a number of options to safeguard the future of the business and following a competitive sales process, this transaction ensures Byron will continue to have a presence on our high streets.” Steve Absolom, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, added: “It is always a regrettable outcome when hard-working people lose their jobs and so our focus now will be on providing those employees affected by redundancy with the support they need at this difficult time.” Three Hills acquired control of the business in 2018 and invested £10m in the brand at the start of 2019. At the end of last month, Byron filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators and reportedly held talks with three potential buyers. The group, which was founded by Tom Byng in 2007, operates 32 sites inside London and 19 outside. For the 12 months to the end of 2019, the group’s revenue is thought to have stood at circa £65m, with restaurant Ebitda at £3.5m. Central costs for the year were thought to be north of £6m, although it’s thought cost cutting has already been implemented, including a new payroll system. KPMG had been running a sale process of Byron since early May.

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