Private equity firm Capdesia has acquired a minority stake in the 55-strong Wasabi chain.
Capdesia made the undisclosed investment alongside Sushiro Global Holdings – Japan’s largest publicly-listed sushi chain operator - and UK and US asset manager Regis Group.
The funding will be used to support the next phase of growth including the expansion of the UK portfolio, a refurbishment programme of existing stores, further expansion of its US presence and “development of other commercial opportunities for the brand”.
Simultaneously, Sushiro, Capdesia and Wasabi have entered into a three-way business alliance agreement to “seek further investment and business development opportunities
MCA first reported that Capdesia was among the bidders for wasabi in December. It followed Wasabi’s appointment of PwC last October to aid it secure a new cash injection.
Funding for this transaction has been provided by HSBC.
Wasabi founder, Dong Hyun Kim, said: “I am extremely proud of what the team at Wasabi has achieved over the last 15 years, from the first days at Camden Market right up to today, and I’m incredibly grateful to all those who have contributed to our story so far. I have always believed in the potential of the Wasabi brand and I wanted to share that experience with more customers every day. I am pleased to have found the right partner to help us to continue our journey and we look forward to taking Wasabi to the next stage of expansion with Capdesia.”
Capdesia co-founder and managing director, Ashton Crosby, said: “As sector specialist investors, we seek to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs in fast growing branded food-service chains across Europe. We invest flexible growth capital to support founders and operators and utilise our team’s decades of international operating experience and deep industry knowledge to help accelerate our portfolio companies’ growth, both domestically and abroad.”
“In Wasabi, we identified a robust core business with above-average site-level economics and strong customer loyalty that is benefitting from the changing consumer demand towards healthier food and faster speed of service. We were immediately struck by the quality of its food, its competitive price point and its lean and scalable operating model.
PwC acted as the lead adviser to Wasabi and its shareholder throughout the process. Wasabi were also advised by James Gordon at Gordons Partnership LLP.
Capdesia were advised by Ian Borman, Stewart Worthy, Daniela Cohen, and James Tannock at Winston & Strawn LLP.