Prezzo has been acquired by a new company owned by investment firm Cain International in a pre-pack administration, with 22 sites to close permanently. It follows the acquisition of Prezzo’s debt and equity by Cain International, on 2 December 2020.

Prezzo will continue to be led by its existing management team, led by executive chairman Karen Jones.

Matthew Callaghan, Andrew Johnson and Ali Khaki from FTI Consulting were appointed as joint administrators of Prezzo Holdings Limited and Prezzo Limited earlier today (10 February). The business and operating assets of the companies were then immediately sold to Prezzo Trading Limited – a company owned by Cain International.

The privately-held investment firm said the deal protected the vast majority of Prezzo’s 2,900 team members’ jobs and would enable the brand to continue serving its customers and communities once hospitality is allowed to reopen.

The closure of 22 of Prezzo’s 178 sites will result in 216 redundancies. Of the 156 restaurants which will continue to trade, the vast majority of employees will transfer to the new owner.

Jonathan Goldstein, chief executive of Cain International, said: “We firmly believe that strong hospitality businesses, such as Prezzo, have a bright future and will play an essential role in reviving the UK economy. However, to do so we must get through this current crisis of mounting liabilities and no revenues.

“The lack of visibility on when and how the sector will reopen has heightened economic uncertainty to the point where decisive action had to be taken to secure the future of the business and the majority of jobs for Prezzo’s people. We are deeply sorry for all those affected by the permanent closure of the 22 non-viable restaurants. It was a difficult but essential decision to take but doing so will allow us to save thousands of jobs and create more in the future.”

Following its CVA in 2018, Prezzo’s trade had improved and the company had made good progress with its turnaround plan, however the challenges encounter due to the pandemic resulted in Cain International acquiring the business in December last year.

Matthew Callaghan, a senior managing director at FTI Consulting and one of the administrators, commented: “Prezzo’s performance had already been significantly impacted by Covid-19 prior to the third national lockdown and, despite the best effort of the directors, the third national lockdown ultimately resulted in a further and significant liquidity requirement.

“This transaction provides Prezzo with the opportunity to work alongside its stakeholders to move the business forward. We wish the business, and all those involved, all the best in the future.”