EG Group buys out Cooplands bakery chain
Zuber and Mohsin Issa
EG GROUP has bought out Britain’s second-largest bakery chain Cooplands for an undisclosed amount as the Blackburn-based retail major has continued the diversification of its portfolio.
Headquartered in Eastfield, Cooplands runs three bakeries and 180 stores and cafes with more than 1,600 employees. It is an established brand in the takeaway segment, mainly in northern England.
According to the billionaire Issa brothers – Zuber and Mohsin – who own EG Group along with TDR Capital, the new deal broadens the reach of Cooplands beyond its northern heartlands.
“Cooplands has a proven track record in the fresh bakery sector and a vertical integration with EG Group will help to further drive our success in foodservice, where we continue to see strong growth opportunities in the UK and globally,” they said, according to the Retail Gazette.
The buyout of Cooplands comes about a week after EG Group, which runs a network of petrol forecourts, acquired 52 KFC restaurants in the UK from Amsric. It had bought the Leon fast food restaurant chain in May.
The Issas and TDR purchased Asda from Walmart in February in a deal that valued the supermarket chain at £6.8 billion.
However, the brothers’ attempt to acquire coffeehouse chain Caffè Nero did not succeed because of a legal intervention.
Media reports said Caffè Nero has hired advisers to refinance its debts in its bid to stay clear of any further hostile takeover attempts.
As the siblings own £180 million of Caffe Nero’s lower-ranking debts, they could take over the chain if it defaults on its repayment obligations, the Retail Gazette reported.
Gerry Ford who founded the coffeehouse chain exuded confidence that his company would not default but did not confirm whether he hired experts from financial services behemoth Lazard to explore funding options.
Lockdowns during the pandemic took a toll on Caffe Nero but it said its business was coming back to pre-Covid levels.