Activist investor weighs bid for TRG divisions

By Shwetali Sapte

- Last updated on GMT

Activist investor weighs bid for TRG divisions

Related tags The restaurant group Casual dining R200 Restaurant Multi-site Brunning & Price Frankie & Benny's

Activist investor TMR Capital is plotting to break up The Restaurant Group (TRG), weighing a bid for two of its four divisions.

The Telegraph​ reports​ the British Virgin Islands-based investor, which has a 1.75% stake in TRG, is considering a bid for the group’s Brunning & Price pubs, and its leisure divisions.

Together, the two divisions operate more than 100 sites across the UK, with the leisure estate including casual dining chains Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito.

TMR is seeking detailed financial information on the business ahead of a possible formal bid and has reportedly approached the board about its early stage proposals.

City analysts have said a 'knockout' offer would be c£200m.

In May 2023, the investor became the latest activist hedge fund to pressure TRG to dispose of its non-core brands and focus solely on Wagamama.

It joined Hong Kong-based hedge fund Oasis and New York-based groups Coltrane Asset Management and Irenic Capital, all of which argue TRG should focus on growing Wagamama as a standalone business​.

The sale would leave the group with only Wagamama and an estate of bars and pubs at airports and train stations.

TMR chief Derek Vago said he has lined up unnamed partners for his proposed bid, telling The Telegraph​: “We have a couple of parties that we always work with. This one’s bought, owned and sold and amalgamated pubs before.”

A TRG spokesperson said the group would 'continue to review its wider strategic options' but did not comment on the speculative bid.

Earlier this month, TRG announced a strong like-for-like (LFL) trading performance in the year to date​, with Wagamama LFLs up 9% in Q1 and 5% in Q2 vs 2022.

Brunning & Price delivered an 'exceptional performance' – up 10% in Q1 and 13% in Q2 while Leisure LFLs were up 2% in Q1 before declining 7% in Q2.

TRG further reported progress 'ahead of expectations' on its rationalisation plain to close c35 sites by the end of the financial year.

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