Byron — the struggling 10-year-old UK burger chain — could be sold in a rescue deal in the new year, on the condition that a number of its underperforming restaurant sites will close. Sky News report that “shareholders in Byron have agreed a transaction under which Three Hills Capital Partners (THCP) will become its majority shareholder by acquiring part of the stake held by Hutton Collins.” Hutton Collins is the investment company that acquired the then 34-site chain for £100 million in 2013.
Though Byron has since doubled its restaurant portfolio, the company — which closed four sites earlier this year — is one whose fortunes have changed. Late in October, it was first reported that Byron was considering a sale, after a “strategic review” indicted it was the first major restaurant brand to be suffering from the casual dining downturn in the UK and rising costs, but also because of increased competition (not least from American mega chains, Shake Shack and Five Guys) and a rise in the use of delivery apps (via which a burgers are a big hit.)
Sky quotes sources as saying that the “entire deal was contingent upon the successful restructuring of Byron's estate,” which would mean site closures. They also say “FPP Asset Management will become a new investor in the business” and that Byron had “secured additional working capital, with a debt restructuring being agreed as part of the rescue package.”
Last month, it was reported that “Information distributed to potential bidders for the business indicated that 13 of its sites are loss-making or marginal, and fall into a category headed 'exit immediately’” with a “further dozen restaurants...marked for review and could be exited by a new owner ‘with or without a premium.’” Byron currently operates just over 70 sites nationwide; 39 of which are in London, inside the M25.