Wagamama, the Duke Street and Hutton Collins-backed chain, has confirmed it has appointed Goldman Sachs to review its strategic growth options.
Commenting on speculation from earlier this week, chief executive Jane Holbrook said: “Our vision is for Wagamama to become an iconic global brand and we are excited to explore the strategic options which will help us do this.”
Duke Street and Hutton Collins, the company’s present owners, are understood to have been encouraged to press ahead with the appointment of advisors by the sale last week of Pret A Manger to JAB Holdings for £1.5bn. Applying a similar multiple of 15 times’ earnings would value Wagamama at more than £750m.
The statement from Wagamama said: “Our owners Duke Street and Hutton Collins bought the company in 2011 and they are both long-standing and supportive shareholders.
“We have performed strongly in the UK for many years and we are expanding globally. Currently we run 130 restaurants in the UK, 5 in the US in New York and Boston and have 57 franchise restaurants around the world. In recent months we have also strengthened our us management team and we are opening two new sites in New York in the next 12 months.
“Our successful growth strategy is reflected in our results. We recently recorded an unprecedented 208 consecutive weeks of UK market outperformance, outperforming the market* by 8.2% (*data from the Coffer Peach Tracker).”
At the same time, the company has revived its previous brand line, “From bowl to soul,” in its biggest push to date in above-the-line advertising. A new ad, which will run on TV and cinemas, mixes animation and live action to show off the restaurant’s fresh ingredients and Asian inspiration.