Graphite takes stake in Hawksmoor

By Mark Wingett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Finance

Private equity group Graphite Capital has taken a minority stake in restaurant group Hawksmoor which operates four sites in London including Hawksmoor Guildhall
Private equity group Graphite Capital has taken a minority stake in restaurant group Hawksmoor which operates four sites in London including Hawksmoor Guildhall
Graphite Capital, the private equity backer of Rex Restaurants, has backed the management buy-out of Hawksmoor, the operator of four high-end steak restaurants in London, in a deal which values the company at around £35m.

Graphite’s investment provides an exit for the friends and family investors who had funded Hawksmoor’s early expansion, while founder Will Beckett, Huw Gott and non-executive director, Paul Campbell, will all stay in their roles and are re-investing into the company.

Karen Jones, a non-executive director at Rex and former chief executive of Spirit, is joining Hawksmoor as chairman.

Hawksmoor

Beckett and Gott, who won the Rising Star prize at this year’s Retailers’ Retailer Awards, recently signed a lease on a space on St John Street to open a new smaller venture called Foxlow this November.

The founders opened their first restaurant in Commercial Street, Spitalfields, in 2006. Following its critical and popular success, a larger second venue was launched in 2010 at Seven Dials in Covent Garden. 

The next year they opened their third restaurant at Guildhall in The City. This was followed by their largest restaurant to date in Air Street, overlooking Regent Street, which was launched at the end of 2012.

Graphite

Hawksmoor marks Graphite’s third investment in the restaurant sector. Graphite invested in the early stage development of Wagamama, the UK’s leading noodle bar chain, expanding it from two to 50 restaurants in the UK and internationally before selling the company to Lion Capital in 2005 for £103 million. 

In April 2012, Graphite invested in Rex Restaurant Associates, owner of The Wolseley, The Delaunay, Brasserie Zédel and Colbert in London.

Beckett said: “Graphite’s investment allows friends and family investors to realise their investment, which is something we were keen to achieve for them. 

"We’re thrilled to have found an investor who understands the industry and its challenges and who has really taken the time to understand the business and the people who run it.  We’re excited about the future development of the company and the knowledge and experience that Graphite will bring.”

Graphite senior partner, Markus Golser, said: “Hawksmoor provides us with an exciting investment opportunity. We were impressed by the young, highly motivated team which has successfully created a popular premium restaurant concept during very difficult economic times. Their focus on consistently delivering high quality food and drink to a discerning customer base will underpin future growth.”

This story was first published by BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Report. To subscribe to M&C Report​ contact Emily Croft on 01293 846578 or email rzvyl.pebsg@jeoz.pbz​.

Related topics: Business, People, Restaurants, Venues

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