Côte Restaurants has been acquired out of administration by Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager.

Partners Group is reported to have “ambitious plans” for the business, with former Wagamama CEO Jane Holbrook joining the board as chair.

The restaurants operating under the Limeyard and Jackson & Rye brands were not included in the transaction, resulting in the closure of three sites and 56 redundancies.

The new owner was a debt holder in Côte, with reports previously linking Partners Group to a potenital debt for equity swap. 

Côte was trading well prior to lockdown, with record sales and strong EBITDA growth in the last financial year.

But following the impact of the coronavirus crisis, Côte appointed advisers FTI Consulting to explore its options and create a stronger financial structure.

Following this process, Matthew Callaghan, Andrew Johnson and Lisa Rickelton of FTI were appointed joint administrators of Côte Restaurants Group Holdings Limited yesterday (28 September).

The business and operating assets of the companies were immediately sold to three companies owned by Partners Group.

The transaction secures the immediate future of 94 restaurants and all of the 3,148 employees working under the Côte brand have transferred to the purchasers.

Alex Scrimgeour, CEO of Côte Restaurants, said: “Côte is a well-established business that traded strongly before the crisis and moved quickly to serve loyal customers at home during lockdown. New safety protocols enabled Côte to welcome back guests into the restaurants. The entire Côte team is excited to continue its success story with the strong backing of Partners Group.”

Christian Ebert, managing director, Partners Group, added: “We see a strong brand with a good following, great quality food and a differentiated operating setup. While the mandatory closure of all Côte’s restaurants due to covid-19 resulted in a significant loss of revenue and earnings, the brand remains as well-regarded as ever and uniquely positioned in the UK restaurant scene. We are excited to onboard the Côte business to the Partners Group platform and welcome more than 3,000 Côte employees. The Partners Group resources and entrepreneurial governance approach will allow Côte to emerge from the pandemic even stronger.”

Jane Holbrook, chair of the board, added: “Alex and his team have built a great business and a much loved brand. I’m really delighted to be joining it as we undertake the next phase of development and growth. Exciting times ahead!”

Matthew Callaghan, a senior managing director, at FTI Consulting, added: “Clearly, it is disappointing that it has not been possible to rescue the Limeyard and Jackson & Rye brands and we will be supporting those affected employees over the coming days and weeks.”