The Restaurant Group to buy Wagamama despite shareholder backlash

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

The Restaurant Group to buy Wagamama despite shareholder backlash
Shareholders in The Restaurant Group (TRG) have narrowly approved its £559m takeover of Wagamama.

Some 60% voted in favour of the decision to buy the entire share capital of Mabel Topco Ltd,​ the noodle chain’s holding company, at a meeting today (28 November).

TRG, which owns brands including Chiquito’s, Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s, acknowledged that 40% had opposed the sale and says it will ‘continue to engage with investors to address their concerns.’

Debbit Hewitt, chairman of TRG, says she is confident the deal will create ‘significant long-term value’ for the company.

“We have engaged extensively with investors throughout this transaction and very much appreciate the time all have given,” says Hewitt.

“The acquisition of Wagamama creates a raft of new opportunities for us to capitalise on in the months and years ahead.”

A number of analysts and shareholders have publicly questioned the takeover bid amid flagging sales at TRG. It’s like for like sales for 2018 are down 2.2% on last year, while Wagamama’s like for likes have risen 12.2% in the 11 weeks to 4 November.

One shareholder told The Daily Telegraph​earlier this month: “We would be more interested if [TRG] first turned around their legacy business properly.”

The deal is expected to complete on 21 December.

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