Waga­mama takeover agreed

Irish Independent - Business Week - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Restau­rant Group has clinched ap­proval for its con­tro­ver­sial takeover of the Waga­mama chain, de­spite a sig­nif­i­cant level of op­po­si­tion from share­hold­ers.

Proxy votes showed 61pc of share­hold­ers sup­ported the £559m (€630.6m) deal, which will be paid for through a com­bi­na­tion of a £315m (€355m) rights is­sue and a £220m (€248m) re­volv­ing credit fa­cil­ity.

Full re­sults were due to be pub­lished fol­low­ing a share­holder meet­ing.

Ma­jor Restau­rant Group in­vestors in­clud­ing

Columbia Thread­nee­dle and US ac­tivists Griz­zlyRock Cap­i­tal and Vi­valdi As­set Man­age­ment have pub­licly voiced op­po­si­tion to the ac­qui­si­tion in re­cent weeks, say­ing it had “red flags”.

But share­holder ad­vi­sory groups and other top share­hold­ers such as JO Ham­bro have hit back with their own sup­port.

Shares in The Restau­rant Group were down 10pc fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment.

Waga­mama, which has three out­lets in Ire­land, is be­ing sold by pri­vate eq­uity firms Duke Street and Hut­ton Collins. It was founded in

1992 by restau­ra­teur Alan Yau, who went on to es­tab­lish the Miche­lin-starred Hakkasan.

In re­cent years it has de­fied the trou­bles hit­ting the ca­sual din­ing sec­tor to report sales and profit growth.

PA

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