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Issa brothers – takeover offer for Nero cafés

Issa brothers – takeover offer for Nero cafés
Issa brothers – takeover offer for Nero cafés

Caffè Nero’s company voluntary arrangement was in doubt today after the coffee shop chain received a surprise takeover bid from the billionaire brothers who are acquiring Asda.

Under the mooted takeover by Mohsin and Zuber Issa, landlords would be paid in full for the rent arrears built up by the chain during the pandemic, compared to 30p in the pound under the CVA, itself regarded as generous.

Britain’s third biggest coffee shop chain behind Costa and Starbucks has been working with KPMG on the future of its UK estate of about 660 Caffè Nero-branded outlets.

The main focus of the CVA has been to move the majority of these stores on to a turnover-based rent, and if there are any closures they are expected to be minimal.

Caffè Nero was founded in 1997 by Mr Ford, 63, and floated in 2001, but the entrepreneur took it private again in 2007 after growing impatient at the low valuation put on the business by the stock market. He retains a 60 per cent stake.

Since then, it has grown to more than 1,000 stores in 11 countries. More than 6,000 people are employed across 800 stores in the UK, with many of them located in major towns or city centre locations and transport hubs.

Mr Ford recently admitted that stores in travel hubs and city centre areas were slow, citing London, Glasgow and Manchester as tough locations owing to their reliance on office workers and tourists.

Conversely, stores in towns and villages where many people were working from home were doing well.

Nero is not alone in suffering from customers working from home. Pret A Manger has announced 2,800 job losses as a result of the Covid-19 crisis while Costa Coffee announced plans to make 1,650 people redundant.

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