Private equity giant snaps up French eatery Cote Restaurants

Cote Restaurants has found a new owner after being forced to reconsider its future because of the pandemic.

The company was bought by Swiss private equity house Partners Group on Monday.

The new owners said they would welcome Cote’s 3,000 employees – across 90 UK restaurants – to the group.

“We see a strong brand with a good following, great quality food and a differentiated operating set-up,” said Partners managing director Christian Ebert.

“While the mandatory closure of all Cote’s restaurants due to Covid-19 resulted in a significant loss of revenue and earnings, the brand remains as well-regarded as ever and uniquely positioned in the UK restaurant scene.

“We are excited to onboard the Cote business to the Partners Group platform and welcome more than 3,000 Cote employees. The Partners Group resources and entrepreneurial governance approach will allow Cote to emerge from the pandemic even stronger.”

The deal will see Jane Holbrook, the former chief executive of Wagamama, join as chairwoman of the board.

She comes to a rapidly growing business where pre-tax profit rose 19% to £5.5 million last year, on revenue of £157 million, up 7%.

Cote chief executive Alex Scrimgeour said: “Cote is a well-established business that traded strongly before the crisis and moved quickly to serve loyal customers at home during lockdown.

“New safety protocols enabled Cote to welcome back guests into the restaurants.

“The entire Cote team is excited to continue its success story with the strong backing of Partners Group.”

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