New World Trading Company sold in £50m deal

The Smugglers Cove Liverpool

Leading bar and restaurant operator New World Trading Company (NWTC) has been given a new financial boost through acquisition by a private equity firm.

The business, which has 14 sites including The Botanist group, has been taken over by mid-market private equity firm Graphite Capital in a £50m transaction.

NWTC was co-founded and chaired by Tim Bacon, who was also a founder of bar and restaurant group Living Ventures. He died in April after a long fight with cancer.

Graphite initiated the deal with an off-market bid for NWTC. The principal sellers were Living Ventures and private investment firms Hill Capital Partners and LDC, which held a minority stake in the business.

Chief executive Chris Hill and his senior management team will continue to run the business which is expanding rapidly, with seven units opened in the past 15 months and more planned for Sheffield, York and Reading in the coming months.

Living Ventures co-founder and chief executive Jeremy Roberts said: “It is particularly bitter sweet for me personally to be announcing this news today. Tim was extremely proud of the business model we have created at Living Ventures and this transaction was the last deal we were working on together.

“It is so sad that he is not here to share it with me. But I know he would be delighted with the achievement and I know he was pleased with the home that NWTC is going to.

“Graphite have acquired a great business and, in Chris Hill, have secured the services of one of the brightest of our prodigies.”

Chris added: “We are delighted to be working with Graphite. Their partnership approach was attractive to us and their experience in supporting roll-outs in the pub and restaurant sector will be invaluable in the coming years.

“They share our vision for the future of the business and our enthusiasm for pushing out the traditional boundaries of the pub industry.”

NWTC operates nine sites around the UK as The Botanist plus The Oast House in Manchester, The Smugglers Cove (pictured) and The Club House in Liverpool and The Trading House in London. It employs over 900 people across the country.

Graphite has a long and successful track record of investing in the pub and restaurant sectors. It grew Wagamama from two units to more than 100 around the world, generating a return of over 10 times its original investment on the sale of the business in 2005. Graphite is currently an investor in Corbin & King, operator of leading London restaurants including The Wolseley, The Delaunay and Brasserie Zédel. It has also invested in Hawksmoor, which has restaurants and bars in London and Manchester.

Graphite partner Omar Kayat said: “NWTC has rapidly established itself as one of the most innovative and respected pub and restaurant operators in the market. The company’s multi-branded approach to all day-dining combined with live entertainment in the evening has been hugely successful nationwide. We look forward to helping Chris and his team in their continued expansion across the UK.”

Tim Farazmand of LDC added: “Chris and the team have done an outstanding job of building on Tim and Jeremy’s earlier vision, launching and scaling several award-winning concepts across the UK which have truly innovated the market.

“The business’ success is another part of Tim Bacon’s legacy and testament to his own entrepreneurial spirit and creativity. We wish the team every success for the future.”

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