Bridgepoint secures Pret for £345m(2)

The cut-price sale may provide the first signs of changed vendor expectations since credit market problems began in August.

European mid-market firm Bridgepoint has acquired UK sandwich chain Pret a Manger, according to a statement. Terms were undisclosed but a source close to the deal said the buyers paid £345 million (€678.7 million; $457.5 million).

Pret a Manger:
changed vendor

Goldman Sachs has taken a minority stake alongside Bridgepoint’s bid after advising on the transaction.

The sale had been planned at around £450 million last year, according to the source. The substantial discount may signal one of the first examples of vendors adjusting expectations in reaction to the problems in the worldwide credit markets. 

Pret a Manger has 200 shops in the UK, the US and Hong Kong and in 2007, its turnover was £223 million in 2007 up from £194 million in 2006.

The founders will be significantly reinvesting in the business, while global fast food chain McDonalds will fully exit its 33 percent stake.

Bridgepoint plans to roll out the company further with at least 30 more shops planned in 2008, including seven in New York with a focus on the business’ international growth.

Debt for the transaction was underwritten by Dutch bank Rabobank. Bridgepoint was advised on market due diligence by OC&C, legally by Travers Smith and financially by KPMG.