Billionaire Asda owners buy Leon fast food chain

Joanna Taylor
·2 min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The billionaire brothers who founded petrol station business EG Group and recently bought Asda have now acquired fast food chain Leon Restaurants.

Mohsin and Zuber Issa bought Leon for a sum between £80m and £100m according to the Mail on Sunday, in a deal signed off by the restaurant’s co-founder John Vincent.

The pair say that they plan to expand Leon to at least 20 new locations from next year, on top of altering the menu and opening drive-thru sites.

The restaurant, which first opened in London’s Carnaby Street in 2004, now has over 70 locations around the UK and mainland Europe. It is known for its “naturally fast food”, much of which is vegetarian and plant-based, and series of twelve cookbooks.

The sale is expected to boost Mr Vincent’s multimillion-pound stake in the business, as well as the smaller stakes owned by TV chef Allegra McEvedy and Henry Dimbleby who, alongside Mr Vincent, helped to devise a school food plan for the government under David Cameron.

In a statement, Mr Vincent confirmed that he will part ways with the business, which is named after his father.

““In some ways this is a sad day for me, to part company with the business I founded 17 years ago in Carnaby Street,” he said.

“But I have had the pleasure of getting to know Mohsin and Zuber across the last few years. They are decent, hard-working business people who are committed to sustaining and further strengthening the values and culture that we have built.”

Mr Vincent added that Leon “has always been built” for expansion and that he hopes that it will continue to grow. Prior to its new purchase, it was majority-owned by private equity firms Active Partners and Spice Private Equity.

EG Group, which acquired Asda in a multibillion pound deal with Walmart earlier this year, operates a host of food businesses including Starbucks, KFC, Burger King, Greggs, Sbarro, Cinnabon and Subway, as well as numerous petrol stations. They recently bid for Caffé Nero, according to reports.

In a joint statement, the Issa brothers said: “The acquisition of Leon presents EG Group with a fantastic opportunity to further develop the menu offer, the various concession formats including drive-thrus, and will enable us to significantly build on the existing network by exploring opportunities across our own sites along with other strategic locations.”

Read More

UK Covid-19 vaccinations: Latest figures

Bad things are happening in the workplace. Labour should attack

New 95% mortgages on sale as demand for home ownership soars