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Wed 5th Aug 2020 - YO! appoints advisers to explore CVA
YO! appoints advisers to explore CVA: YO!, the global multi-brand, multi-channel Japanese food group, has appointed Deloitte as advisers to explore the possibility of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). A formal decision to proceed with a CVA has yet to be taken but sources told Sky News that without meaningful bilateral concessions from landlords the company would have little choice but to pursue one. It is unclear whether YO! would look to close any of its 70 restaurants as part of a CVA. Some of the sites where the company hasn’t been able to agree concessions with landlords no longer trade under the YO! brand. One source told Sky News that where discussions with landlords had been fruitful, YO! had been able to reopen restaurants with its new contactless format in which customers can order remotely and have food delivered to them on conveyor belts. Since the end of lock-down, those sites are understood to have traded ahead of expectations, with the Eat Out To Help Out scheme also expected to boost sales in recent days. An associated cut in food waste is also understood to have delivered significant cost savings. The roll-out of YO!’s new format – currently in 19 restaurants – has been undertaken with the financial backing of Mayfair Equity Partners, the private equity firm that bought a stake in the company in 2015. A YO! spokesman said: “All we can say at the moment is YO! has been engaged throughout the past few months in exploring measures to best manage our property estate. This has included talking directly with our landlords and consulting with advisers so we can best adapt to the changed market place.” Since its initial investment in YO!, Mayfair has helped to orchestrate the takeover of Canada-based Bento Sushi and a merger with US company SnowFox last year. YO! employs about 1,400 people at its UK restaurants as well as selling sushi in kiosks in more than 50 Tesco stores. It is also ramping up the roll-out of its pan-Asian street food concept, Panku, with Asda.

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