Billionaire Issa brothers buy Leon for £100m

Barney Davis
·1 min read

Fast-food chain Leon has been bought for £100 million by the Issa brothers, the billionaire siblings who bought Asda just a few months ago.

The brothers’ petrol forecourt business, EG group, have bought more than 70 Leon restaurants across the UK and Europe with plans to build out the network, including drive-through sites.

Mohsin Issa and Zuber Issa said the deal offered a “fantastic opportunity” to purchase a “ brand we have long admired”.

The group has also committed to keeping on Leon’s management team and staff.

Leon boss John Vincent, who co-founded the firm in 2004, said: “In some ways this is a sad day for me.”

“We have tried hard, done some good things, made a healthy amount of mistakes, and built a business that quite a few people are kind enough to say that they love,” he added.

Mr Vincent described the Issa brothers as “decent, hard-working business people” who would be “superb custodians” of the Leon brand.

He had previously said Leon was losing around £200,000 a week during lockdown.

“That probably means that versus what we would have been making, we’re losing probably an extra £800,000,” he said.

The deal includes 42 company-owned restaurants, as well as 29 franchise sites which are mainly found in airports and train stations across the UK and a handful of European countries such as the Netherlands and Spain.

Leon made sales of about £115m in 2019, running losses to fund its expansion within the UK and overseas before the pandemic stunted its growth plans.

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