LEGAL | Staff Reporter, Australia

Craveable Brands officially sold to PAG Asia Capital

The company operates more than 580 restaurants across its three restaurant chains.

(Editor's Note: This article, earlier titled "Hong Kong-based PAG Asia Capital eyeing to acquire Craveable Brands: report", was updated to reflect the confirmation from Craveable Brands.)

PAG Asia Capital, the private equity buyout arm of Hong Kong-based investment firm PAG, has acquired 100% of Craveable Brands from Archer Capital, the Australian-owned operator has confirmed.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but a report from the Australian Financial Review indicated the amount at $450m.

PAG was advised by Goldman Sachs, King & Wood Mallesons and Ernst & Young. Debt for the transaction was underwritten by Goldman Sachs. Archer Capital, meanwhile, was advised by Morgan Stanley, Herbert Smith Freehills and Ernst & Young. 

Current management, led by CEO Brett Houldin, is expected to continue to lead the business, consisting of the Red Rooster, Oporto and Chicken Treat restaurant chains.

“The transaction will begin a new and exciting chapter for us that will see us further grow Craveable from the solid platform already established. Archer has given us strong support over the last eight years, and we are now very excited to be partnering with PAG and benefiting from their wealth of experience and international connections,” he said in a statement.

The deal also comes two years after PAG bought Aussie dessert chain The Cheesecake Shop for $100m. PAG chairman and CEO Weijian Shan said they see “great opportunities” for Craveable Brands, which operates more than 580 restaurants and has more than 12,500 employees.

“PAG has a long track record of successful partnerships with established brands and franchisee networks, notably in our work with The Cheesecake Shop, and we look forward to supporting Craveable’s high quality and dedicated franchisees as they grow their business,” he said.

The sale announcement also concludes the group’s eight-year partnership with Archer Capital.

“Since our investment in 2011, we have been successful in building this business to approximately $800m of network sales annually. We have had a great experience partnering with the management team led by Brett Houldin and countless hard working franchisees who have transformed the brands and customer experience. We look forward to seeing the business expand and prosper under PAG’s ownership,” Archer Capital managing partner Peter Gold said.

Oporto Vietnam master franchisee Nguyen Tuan Tu. Photo: Supplied

Oporto Vietnam franchising deal inked
The announcement comes a day after its Oporto restaurant brand announced that it has signed a master franchising deal with Ben Thanh Group to open 24 restaurants across Vietnam in the next ten years.

The first store under the partnership will open in Ho Chi Minh on 17 July.

“When I heard that Oporto were expanding internationally through Asia, I knew this was the business I’d been waiting for. The flavor profile was right for our market. There is a rising
demand (and consumption) for chicken across Vietnam and Oporto is complementary to the businesses within our portfolio.” Ben Thanh Group chairman Nguyen Tuan Tu said in an announcement.

Vietnam is also the third international master franchise agreement to be signed by Oporto in the past fourteen months following Singapore and Sri Lanka.

“Vietnam is an ideal market for Oporto with nearly 100 million people and more than 60% in our core demographic of under 35. Vietnam is experiencing double digit growth in the retail and consumer sector and GDP has steadily grown at over 6%. Our flame grilled Portuguese chicken and burgers are of a premium quality and our original chilli sauce is based on a family recipe. This flavour profile fits well for Vietnamese tastes,” Oporto CEO Craig Tozer added.

The Portuguese chicken chain is forecasting an over 20 additional restaurant openings in Australia for FY20 along with one in Vietnam, a second store in Singapore and additional markets in the Asian region.

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