Lion Capital buys Loungers in deal worth £137m

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Lion Capital has acquired a majority stake in Loungers, the all-day, neighbourhood café-bars founded in Bristol in 2002.

The private equity firm will snap up outgoing backers Piper’s stake in the company as well as a portion of the founders’ stake, in a transaction which values the business at £137m.

Piper invested in Loungers in April 2012 when the business consisted of 20 Lounges and three Cosy Club sites across the UK. Over the past four years, the company has more than quadrupled the number of sites to 94, opening 20 sites a year since 2014 and creating employment for almost 2,000 people. The business is planning to open its 100th site by April 2017 and has a further 20 in the pipeline for the following year.

Loungers was founded by a trio of longstanding friends, Alex Reilley, Jake Bishop and Dave Reid. Their idea was to provide customers with a space between work and home to meet, chat, eat and drink – a more attractive and appealing alternative to the surrounding local pubs and coffee bars.

The team behind the business will continue their involvement for the next stage of its growth. Alex Reilley will stay on as chairman of the group. Nick Collins, who joined as finance director in 2012 and became CEO in 2015, will continue to lead the business together with Justin Carter who joined as COO in 2015. Jake Bishop will remain as managing director of Cosy Club.

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