June 9, 2016 @ 15:05 by Alison Cowie
Mid-market private equity firm, Graphite Capital, has acquired the pub and restaurant business, New World Trading Company (NWTC) in a £50 million transaction.
Founded by the owners of Living Ventures Group, the late Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, in 2011, NWTC now operates 14 pub/restaurants nationally under five sub brands: The Botanist, The Oast House, Smugglers Cove, The Trading House and The Club House.
NWTC’s talented management team and its distinctive customer proposition have been recognised in numerous industry awards. In March this year, the company won the Publican awards for Best Pub Employer and Best Managed Pub Company.
NWTC is expanding rapidly, with seven units opened in the past 15 months and more planned to open in Sheffield, York and Reading in the coming months. The company currently employs more than 900 people across the country from Glasgow to London.
Graphite initiated the acquisition process with an off-market bid for NWTC. The principal vendors were Living Ventures, Hill Capital and LDC, which held a minority stake in the business.
Chief executive Chris Hill and his senior management team will continue to run the company. NWTC’s former chairman, Tim Bacon, of Living Ventures, very sadly died recently after a long fight with cancer. Living Ventures co-founder and chief executive Jeremy Roberts commented: “It is particularly bitter sweet for me personally to be announcing this news today. Tim was extremely proud of the business model we have created at Living Ventures and this transaction was the last deal we were working on together. It is so sad that he is not here to share it with me. But I know he would be delighted with the achievement and I know he was pleased with the home that NWTC is going to. Graphite have acquired a great business and, in Chris Hill, have secured the services of one of the brightest of our prodigies.”
Chris Hill said: “We are delighted to be working with Graphite.The company’s partnership approach was attractive to us and their experience in supporting roll-outs in the pub and restaurant sector will be invaluable in the coming years. They share our vision for the future of the business and our enthusiasm for pushing out the traditional boundaries of the pub industry.”
Graphite partner Omar Kayat added: “NWTC has rapidly established itself as one of the most innovative and respected pub and restaurant operators in the market. The company’s multi-branded approach to all day-dining combined with live entertainment in the evening has been hugely successful nationwide. We look forward to helping Chris and his team in their continued expansion across the UK.”
LDC’s Tim Farazmand said: “Chris and the team have done an outstanding job of building on Tim and Jeremy’s earlier vision, launching and scaling several award-winning concepts across the UK which have truly innovated the market. The business’ success is another part of Tim Bacon’s legacy and testament to his own entrepreneurial spirit and creativity. We wish the team every success for the future.”
Graphite has a long and successful track record of investing in the pub and restaurant sectors. It grew Wagamama from two units to more than 100 around the world, generating a return of over 10 times its original investment on the sale of the business in 2005. Graphite is currently an investor in Corbin & King, operator of signature London restaurants including The Wolseley, The Delaunay and Brasserie Zédel. Graphite has also invested in Hawksmoor, which operates premium steak restaurants in London and Manchester.