Franco Manca’s Acquisition Fuels Growth with £93m Buyout by Japanese Group

Dining enthusiasts, brace yourselves for some exciting news! The Japanese operator of renowned restaurants Wok to Walk and Marugame Udon, Toridoll, has recently agreed to purchase the beloved Franco Manca and The Real Greek restaurant chains. This buyout amounts to a whopping £93.4 million, propelling the expansion of these culinary gems to even greater heights.

Toridoll, listed on the Tokyo exchange and boasting impressive worldwide sales of £1 billion, has joined forces with the esteemed restaurant sector specialist fund Capdesia to acquire Fulham Shore, the London-listed pizza and Greek casual dining group that owns Franco Manca and The Real Greek. This deal comes as a cash offer of 14.15p per share, causing Fulham Shore’s stock prices to soar by a third to 14p on Wednesday morning when the news broke.

Takaya Awata, the mastermind behind Toridoll, founded the company in 1990. Awata’s journey began in the 1980s with a yakitori restaurant, tantalizing Japanese palates with delectably grilled chicken. Fast forward to today, and Toridoll has over 1,000 outlets spanning the globe.

Toridoll’s decision to acquire Fulham Shore stems from their admiration for the British group’s impressive resilience in the face of challenging trading circumstances over the past few years. With 97 outlets across the UK, Fulham Shore has demonstrated exceptional performance and shows immense potential for growth, both domestically and internationally. Toridoll envisions opportunities for expansion in the UK and overseas markets, as well as the introduction of additional products, such as ready-made pizzas, into retail stores.

David Page, the executive chair of Fulham Shore, expressed his enthusiasm for the deal, emphasizing its ability to unlock the company’s long-term potential. He proudly asserted, “We are proud of the significant progress that Fulham Shore has made since it was founded in 2012. While we remain excited about the prospects for the business on a standalone basis, we have been in discussions with both Toridoll and Capdesia and received a proposal that we believe is compelling for all of our stakeholders.”

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The origins of Franco Manca, renowned for its delectable sourdough pizzas, trace back to Brixton in south London in 2008. Fulham Shore acquired the brand in 2015, along with its existing possession, The Real Greek. With a projected record-breaking sales figure of approximately £100 million for the year ending in March, the group’s sheer success is undeniable. Their outlets near transportation hubs and tourist hotspots continue to thrive, while those in office districts gradually rebound to their pre-pandemic levels.

As dining chains navigate the challenging landscape, they face mounting pressures from rising costs, including energy, labor, and ingredients. Simultaneously, sales growth has become elusive as consumers tighten their belts due to soaring household expenses. Despite these hurdles, Fulham Shore remains optimistic, planning to open six new restaurants this year. The business has rebounded admirably following the pandemic-related lockdowns. Nevertheless, the company acknowledges shared struggles with other players in the sector, notably grappling with cost management and the constant search for skilled staff.

Takaya Awata, the president and chief executive of Toridoll, expressed genuine excitement about the partnership with Capdesia, emphasizing the combined expertise and substantial resources that will accelerate the growth of Franco Manca and The Real Greek. He confidently stated, “We are confident that both have the potential for significant future growth, domestically and internationally.”

Prepare your taste buds for an exciting journey as this collaboration of culinary excellence sets the stage for new innovations, expanded horizons, and unforgettable experiences. Join Franco Manca and The Real Greek on their extraordinary gastronomic quest, and explore the wonders that await at Hook’d Up Bar and Grill.

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