Raising Finance

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Jamie Oliver may be looking to private equity to fund international expansion plans

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Jamie Oliver may be selling a majority stake in his business – a deal which could value his restaurants at £200m. He could also raise as much as £50m by offloading a minority stake in the Jamie Oliver Group. 

A spokesman for the Jamie Oliver Group said: “Like any well run private company, we regularly review our funding policy and requirements.”

“All options, including bringing on board an external investor, are considered in order to position the group to take best advantage of the clear market opportunities that lie ahead.”

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was appointed to handle the discussions with FTSE 100 company 3i, which is among the group of investors to have been approached about taking a stake in Oliver’s restaurant business. The deal would comprise a stake in Jamie’s Italian, Jamie Oliver’s Diner, and steakhouse concept Barbecoa.

Industry analysts said that a restaurant business was an obvious target for 3i as it once held a stake in the Giraffe chain before being acquired by Tesco.

Other businesses to have been approached include former Wagamama investor Lion Capital, and Duke Street, which has decided not to make an offer.

The stake sale will allegedly not include Oliver’s Fifteen-branded sites.

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The move was done in order to fund the expansion of his brands internationally – specifically Jamie’s Italian and Barbecoa.

Jamie’s Italian increased sales by ten per cent in January 2014, before profits dropped by 22 per cent due to “competition, heavy discounting by high street brands and continued strain on consumer spending”, the company said.

Oliver also plans to raise finance for funding the opening of new restaurants under his name. He intends to grow his newest brand, Jamie’s Italian Trattoria, aimed at smaller towns and London suburbs.

Growing YouTube channel Food Tube is also on his list.

The sale process of his restaurant chains is separate to conversations that Oliver is holding with media groups about acquiring shares in his publishing unit. He hired investment bank Raine to offload part of his publishing business.

Pre-tax profit at Jamie Oliver Holdings, which houses his publishing interests and TV company Fresh One Productions, fell to £6.2m from £9.8m in 2012.

In December 2014, the company claimed the sale of a minority stake in Oliver’s media interests would “be the prelude to a larger investment” in Oliver’s Italian restaurant chain in around 12 months.

“Oliver has been conducting an internal review for some time,” the company claimed.

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