// Asda owner EG Group launches takeover bid for coffee shop chain Caffe Nero
// EG Group owners Issa brothers acquired Asda in a £6.8 billion deal in September
// EG Group said the offer was a significant improvement on Caffe Nero creditors’ plans to launch a CVA
Asda owners Mohsin and Zuber Issa have reportedly placed a takeover bid for struggling British coffee shop chain Caffe Nero.
The Issa brothers, who acquired Big 4 grocer Asda in a £6.8 billion deal in September, have written to Caffe Nero founder and owner Gerry Ford with a takeover proposal.
The billionaire owners of the UK’s largest petrol forecourt operator EG Group, said Caffe Nero’s landlords would be paid in full for the rent arrears owed to them as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, Sky News reported.
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EG Group said the offer was a significant improvement on creditors’ plans to launch a CVA.
It also represented an improvement for the chain’s store-owners over the company CVA proposal on which they are scheduled to vote later on Monday.
It remains unclear as to whether Caffe Nero had responded to the EG Group offer yet, or what the precise terms of the offer are.
EG Group currently employs more than 44,000 people across 6000 sites in Europe, the US and Australia.
In September, the Issa brothers and their private equity backers, TDR Capital, secured an agreement with Walmart to buy Asda.
The deal returned the Big 4 giant to British ownership for the first time in 21 years.
Walmart has owned Asda since 1999, and the deal means it would still retain a minority stake in the Big 4 grocer as part of the agreement, as well as have a seat on the board.
Under the CVA proposal, a number of its 650 Caffe Nero-branded sites could eventually close, although the focus of the plan is to switch to a turnover rent model.
The company also operates 150 stores under brands such as Harris & Hoole, which are not part of the CVA.
Lenders to Caffe Nero are expected to play a role in deciding the chain’s future.
Debt providers Alcentra and Partners Group have hired FTI Consulting to advise them, while banks are being advised by Deloitte.