MJ Hudson advises on the pre-pack acquisition of Vapiano restaurants

MJ Hudson has advised on the acquisition of three London Vapiano restaurants out of administration. The transaction, structured as a pre-pack sale, safeguards Vapiano restaurants in three prime locations and secures the jobs of 209 current employees.

The restaurants, in Great Portland Street, South Bank and Tower Bridge, were acquired by subsidiaries of UK VAP Ltd (all established by MJ Hudson), in turn owned by the Love & Food Restaurant Holding group. The Love & Food Restaurant Holding group recently purchased Vapiano’s franchisor and IP rights out the insolvency process of Vapiano SE (the Vapiano holding company). A further Vapiano franchise restaurant was acquired at the same time by Savour Group, which is backed by the family owners of the Cairn and Dominvs hotel/real estate groups.

The transaction will permit a re-opening of the rescued Vapiano restaurants in due course, all of which were forced to close in accordance with COVID-19 laws earlier this year. In the longer term further expansion across the UK is planned.

For MJ Hudson, the deal showcases the combined strength of its M&A and restructuring/insolvency practices, and deepens its experience in the restaurants and hospitality sector following its advisory role in the sale of Wagamama in late 2018.

Andrew Mills, Head of Corporate at MJ Hudson commented:

“We feel privileged to have advised UK VAP and its subsidiaries on this transaction; Vapiano has a very strong and loyal base of customers and employees who cannot wait for the restaurants’ re-opening, and we are delighted to have helped rescue the UK business. Pre-pack administrations such as this are often fast-paced and intense, but our team always rises to the challenge. We have spent the last few months preparing the ground for the many restructurings and distressed transactions that are expected later in 2020, and this transaction demonstrates our readiness for the post-COVID deal environment.”

Paul Durban, Head of Finance, Restructuring and Insolvency at MJ Hudson commented:

“Pre-packs such as this are likely to be prevalent across all sectors as companies and their backers assess the impact of COVID-19, and government business assistance schemes taper off. We are fortunate to have an experienced team in place and are well-resourced to assist our clients, be they companies, finance providers or insolvency practitioners, on a wide spectrum of distressed situations, from consensual refinancings to insolvency processes such as this one.”