Caffè Nero rejects takeover bid from EG Group founders

Coffee shop chain, Caffè Nero has rejected a takeover bid from Mohsin and Zuber Issa the brothers behind petrol forecourt chain, EG Group.

The offer came ahead of a key meeting late yesterday between Caffe Nero and its creditors. It's seeking approval for a rescue deal that would see its rents cut after sales slumped in lockdown.

Caffe Nero said in a statement, “The directors are fully aware of their responsibility to maximise recovery to creditors.

“Having considered carefully whether progressing with this unsolicited, highly uncertain approach has the potential to achieve a better result for creditors than the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) as currently proposed, they do not believe this to be the case or to be in the long term interests of the group.

“This offer has been made without any understanding of Caffe Nero’s financial and trading position.

“Furthermore, any transaction would be subject to a period of detailed due diligence, as well as the agreement on the terms of any sale, and would require the consent of the group’s external lenders and shareholders.

“Therefore, it is unlikely that any transaction will be agreed, resulting in an outcome for creditors that is far inferior to the current CVA proposal.”

The group, which owns 650 Caffè Nero-branded stores, 40 Harris + Hoole cafes and 100 Coffee#1 sites, and employs over 6,000 people, has been forced it to seek a CVA, due to the effects of the pandemic, that may see site closures and rents cut.

Caffe Nero appointed KPMG in September to help it negotiate rent cuts with its landlords. Landlords were due to vote on the CVA last night, which ended at midnight. Results of the vote are expected this afternoon.

The group said the CVA proposals would allow it “to withstand the devastating impact of the current pandemic, and any further subsequent lockdowns, and emerge strongly to regain previous trading momentum once restrictions are lifted”.