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Mon 28th Sep 2020 - Côte acquired by Partners Group, Jane Holbrook becomes chairman
Côte acquired by Partners Group, Jane Holbrook becomes chairman: Côte, the 98-strong French brasserie chain, has been acquired by global private markets investment manager Partners Group in a pre-pack administration, with Jane Holbrook replacing Andrew Page as chairman. Matthew Callaghan, Andrew Johnson and Lisa Rickelton were appointed joint administrators of Côte Restaurants Group Holdings (and other group companies) today (Monday, 28 September). Immediately following the appointment of administrators, the business and operating assets of the companies were sold to three companies all of whom are ultimately owned by Partners Group. The deal has secured the immediate future of 94 restaurants and all of the 3,148 employees working under the Côte brand have transferred to the purchasers. The restaurants operating under the Limeyard and Jackson & Rye brands were not included in the transaction resulting in the closure of three sites and 56 redundancies. Prior to lock-down, Côte, which opened its first restaurant in 2007, was trading well with record sales of £156.6m and strong Ebitda growth – up to £18.4m – in the past financial year. The business has recently successfully launched Côte at Home, its online shop delivering easy to cook dishes, fresh meat and wine. Côte stated: “Unfortunately, the coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on Côte and the wider hospitality sector. Côte has adapted well to this new environment and, in order to protect the business for the long term, it appointed advisers to help create a stronger financial structure. Following this process, the Côte business was acquired by Partners Group. Partners Group is excited by the potential of Côte and has ambitious plans for the business. To support this development, former Wagamama chief executive Jane Holbrook is joining the board as chairman. Jane is an industry veteran who most recently led the award-winning team that grew and developed Wagamama to become a leading player in the hospitality sector.” Côte chief executive Alex Scrimgeour said: “Côte is a well-established business that traded strongly before the crisis and moved quickly to serve loyal customers at home during lock-down. New safety protocols enabled Côte to welcome back guests into the restaurants. The entire Côte team is excited to continue its success story with the strong backing of Partners Group.” Partners Group managing director Christian Ebert added: “We see a strong brand with a good following, great-quality food and a differentiated operating set-up. While the mandatory closure of all Côte’s restaurants due to covid-19 resulted in a significant loss of revenue and earnings, the brand remains as well regarded as ever and uniquely positioned in the UK restaurant scene. We are excited to onboard the Côte business to the Partners Group platform and welcome more than 3,000 Côte employees. The Partners Group resources and entrepreneurial governance approach will allow Côte to emerge from the pandemic even stronger.” Holbrook said: “Alex and his team have built a great business and a much-loved brand. I’m really delighted to be joining it as we undertake the next phase of development and growth. Exciting times ahead.” Earlier this month, Côte, which was previously backed by BC Partners, appointed advisers to explore its options, including a possible debt-for-equity swap deal.

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