South Africa’s Famous Brands Acquires 51% stake in Italian restaurant chain

Johannesburg-listed food company Famous Brands has acquired a 51 percent stake in Italian restaurant business Lupa Osteria, as it seeks to expand its presence in the family casual dining segment.

“Over the past year our stated strategy has been to explore and capitalise on opportunities in the casual dining category – one of the quickest growing segments in the restaurant industry over the past decade. Our more recent acquisitions, including the Mythos brand, demonstrate our progress in pursuit of this goal,” said Darren Hele, Famous Brands’ Chief Executive Officer.

“The Lupa Osteria transaction furthers our ambition to extend our presence in this market space and aligns well with the growing consumer trend towards high-quality informal enjoyment and appreciation of authentic craft-style food in a relaxed, personalised environment,” he adds.

Founded in 2013, and franchised in 2014, Lupa Osteria comprises three restaurants in Kwazulu-Natal: Hillcrest, Westville and Durban North. Co-founders Guy Cluver and Chris Black plan to expand the business to six restaurants in KwaZulu-Natal and in the long-term grow to a network of 35 in South Africa and select African countries.

“Since launching Lupa, we have been approached by other major players in the industry and are delighted to be able to choose Famous Brands as a partner. With their extensive experience and infrastructure the Group will help us realise our ambitions for Lupa,” Cluver says.

Hele says Black and Cluver will remain jointly responsible for managing the business, supported by Famous Brands, South Africa’s biggest fast-food restaurant chain which runs Debonairs Pizza and Wimpy restaurants.

Although financial details of the deal were not disclosed, a statement by Famous Brands explained that the purchase consideration falls below the threshold of a categorised transaction in terms of the Listings Requirements of the JSE Limited and will be settled from cash reserves.

“All suspensive conditions have been fulfilled and the effective date of the transaction is 01 May 2016.”