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Fri 22nd May 2020 - Boparan buys 30 Carluccio’s sites for circa £3m
Boparan buys 30 Carluccio’s sites for circa £3m: Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) has completed the acquisition of the Carluccio’s brand and 30 trading sites saving over 800 jobs. The company already operates Cinnamon, Fishworks, Slim Chickens, Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner. BRG will also take on Carluccio’s franchise partnership in the UAE and Qatar. Satnam Leihal, managing director of BRG, said: “We welcome Carluccio’s colleagues to BRG. This acquisition is in line with our strategy to grow our restaurant group with quality brands. Whilst it is an extremely challenging time for the sector, we believe quality hospitality businesses will recover in the long term as people return to eating out.” The Carluccio’s sites which now form part of the BRG estate are as follows: Beverley, Bluewater, Bristol, Cribbs Causeway, Cambridge, Cheshire Oaks, Chester, Chichester, Colchester, Derby, Kingston Bentalls, Leamington Spa, Leeds, Trinity, London-Islington Development Kitchen, Marriott Heathrow, Marriott Regents Park, Richmond, South Kensington, St Christopher’s Place, St Pancras Station, Waterloo Station, Wimbledon, Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Trafford Centre, Portsmouth, Reading, Sheffield, Solihull, Southampton, Stratford on Avon, Walton on Thames, Dublin- Dawson Street. The Times leisure reporter Dominic Walsh tweeted: “Just over £3m cash deal for brand plus 30 of 71 sites. Plan is to rebrand ten plus sites as Slim Chickens over time. Amazing price for business that Landmark invested circa £100m in over years.”

Just Eat investor questions Amazon investment in Deliveroo rationale: Amazon has been accused of peddling ‘patently false’ information to boost its case for investing in Deliveroo. The internet shopping groups’ bid to take a minority stake in the food delivery firm has been provisionally cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority, which fears the British firm will otherwise go bust because of a hit to its revenues from the coronavirus crisis. But Cat Rock Capital, a top investor in rival Just Eat, has poured scorn on that suggestion and said the pandemic was having the ‘exact opposite’ effect on sales of takeaways. Alex Captain, Cat Rock’s founder and managing partner, said: “Amazon and Deliveroo have told the CMA that it needs to approve their deal because covid-19 has caused a ‘significant decline’ in Deliveroo’s revenue. Now it is clear that covid-19 is actually increasing revenue for online food delivery companies all over the world, exactly the opposite of what Amazon and Deliveroo have claimed.” He added that ‘Amazon’s dominance of e-commerce and local delivery has never been greater’. He warned: “UK consumers will lose if Amazon and Deliveroo do not independently compete.” A Deliveroo spokesman said Cat Rock’s ‘panicked attempt to desperately lobby the CMA is not surprising’.

Time Out Group looks to rise £49m with food markets base case of re-opening in September: Time Out Group has launched a placing to raise up to £49 million, before expenses. It will also restructure £20.2m of debt once the placing is successfully completed. The company is assuming its food markets can re-open in September and assumes business might be reduced by 50% for the first six months. The company stated: “On 23 March 2020, the company announced that it had temporarily closed its six Time Out Markets in Boston, Chicago, Lisbon, Miami, Montreal and New York in support of the local and global efforts to contain the spread of covid-19. In response to this situation, the company has significantly reduced contracted costs (primarily cleaning and security) in the Time Out Markets, terminated contracts with all hourly paid staff (approximately 60%. of total Time Out Markets staff) and furloughed approximately 30%. of Time Out Markets employees (60 employees in Portugal and head office). It has also entered into rent deferral and reduction negotiations with site landlords. These measures are expected to result in a monthly cost reduction for Time Out Markets of approximately £1.7 million whilst the Time Out Markets remain closed. On 23 March 2020, the company also announced that the covid-19 pandemic had led to a slowing of advertising revenues and that, given the material uncertainty of the situation, it was not possible to quantify the full trading impact of the outbreak. The company has responded quickly to these unprecedented times with a temporary ‘Time In’ rebrand and a launch of an e-version of the magazine, complementing its online digital content. The company has furloughed 23% of staff in Time Out Media, has suspended all print editions globally and has temporarily halted all marketing spend, freelancing and bought-in words and pictures. These measures are expected to result in a monthly cost reduction for Time Out Media of approximately £600,000. £2.4 million of monthly cash savings – In addition to the above, a number of group-wide temporary measures have been taken. In total, 47%. of employees or hourly paid workers have been furloughed or their contracts terminated. Members of the management teams across Time Out Markets, Time Out Media and head office have taken salary reductions of approximately 25%. Furthermore, 2020 pay rises have been reversed, bonuses cancelled, travel and expense costs have been largely stopped and borrowing under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and other government schemes continue to be investigated, and whilst the company has received approximately US$1.3 million of funding under the US Paycheck Protection Program, neither the size nor duration of any potential further funding is expected to be significant. In aggregate, the group’s cost saving measures are expected to deliver approximately £2.4 million of monthly cash savings across the group. As at 1 May 2020, the company had available cash reserves of approximately £3.6 million. Whilst the Time Out Markets remain closed, the company expects to have an approximate monthly cash outflow of £1.5 million following implementation of the self-help measures described above.” 

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