Bridgepoint sells majority stake in Pret A Manger

Bridgepoint sells majority stake in Pret A Manger

Bridgeport, the UK-based private equity firm, has sold off the high street chain to the German-controlled company JAB Holdings, which is behind Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Kenco coffee. The deal values Pret at around $2bn including debt, according to a person familiar with the matter.

For JAB, the move is one of its biggest outside the USA, where it owns restaurant chains Panera and Au Bon Pain as well as high-end coffee brands Peet's and Stumptown.

London-based Pret has 530 locations, with the majority in the United Kingdom - but others scattered in nine countries.

"This is about taking this brand globally", Jeffrey Young, managing director at industry consultant Allegra Group, said by phone.

Nestle meanwhile recently boosted its position as the world's biggest coffee company with a $7.15 billion licensing deal with Starbucks Corp (Hanover: SRB.HA - news). The chain generates annual revenue of 879 million pounds, Bridgepoint said in the statement.

"We are very thrilled to work with Pret and its talented team to continue its extraordinary story of growth", JAB Ceo, Olivier Goudet, said. The brand has also made a pledge to move to all recyclable packaging by 2025.

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Instead, the deal will bring Pret under the ownership of Luxembourg-based JAB, which is an investment vehicle for Germany's reclusive Reimann family.

Pret A Manger's 12,000 staff will be paid a £1,000 bonus when its takeover is completed this summer.

The restaurant chain Pret A Manger is being acquired by the European investment firm that bought Panera Bread past year.

Bridgepoint bought the chain at the height of the buyout boom in 2008 for €500m.

The sale is reportedly worth £1.5bn but Pret, JAB or Bridgepoint have not confirmed further details.

JAB Holding Company is also the largest shareholder in Coty Inc., a global leader in beauty, and owns a controlling stake in luxury goods company Bally as well as a minority stake in Reckitt Benckiser PLC, a global leader in health, hygiene and home products.

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