Fast-food chain Jollibee is mulling a bid for high-street coffee and sandwich shop Pret A Manger, per Reuters, in a deal that could value the British business at over $1 billion. The news is the latest twist in the tale of Bridgepoint-owned Pret, which was reportedly being prepped by its PE owner for an IPO earlier this year. Bridgepoint acquired the business in 2008 in a deal worth around £350 million.
A corporate sale to Philippines-based Jollibee, a McDonald's rival, would belie the trend for PE exits in the consumer products and services sector. In exits, secondary buyouts are closing the gap on corporate acquisitions, according to the PitchBook Platform, after years of dominance by corporate buyers.
Consumer products and services deals by PE exit type
This isn't down to a lack of willingness on the corporate side, seemingly—indeed, on Jollibee's part, the company is looking to ‘aggressively pursue acquisitions,’ per its latest annual report. Yet the growth in financial acquisitions is a testimony to a deal-hungry PE market driven by both record fundraising and low interest rates.
Indeed, this has led some traditional LPs, such as Switzerland's Partners Group, to raise funds themselves—in Partners' case a €5 billion direct PE vehicle. In the consumer products and services sector, the largest SBO in Europe this year saw GIC, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, acquire the Czech Republic's P3 from TPG and Ivanhoé Real Estate in a €2.4 billion deal.
As for Pret, it isn't the only high-street food chain making investors hungry. Earlier this year, JAB, the investment vehicle of Germany's Reimann family, acquired bakery chain Panera bread for around $7.5 billion.
PitchBook subscribers can check out the full data on consumer products and services deals.