21 December 2016

The corporate team from Burges Salmon has advised Piper PE LLP and management on the acquisition of Loungers by Lion Capital of Piper’s stake and a portion of the founders’ stake in a transaction that values the business at £137 million.

Loungers is a fast-growing UK chain of informal, all-day, neighbourhood café-bars, founded in Bristol in 2002 by a trio of longstanding friends, Alex Reilley, Jake Bishop and Dave Reid. Their idea was to provide customers with a ‘third space’ between work and home to meet, chat, eat and drink – a more attractive and appealing alternative to the surrounding local pubs and coffee bars. Loungers operates two brands: Lounges and Cosy Clubs.

Advising on all legal aspects of the transaction, the Burges Salmon team was led by partners Mark Shepherd (advising Piper and management on the sale) and Richard Spink (advising management on their retained stake in the business), with support from specialists from across the firm including its real estate and tax teams.

Burges Salmon has significant expertise in the food and drink sector, giving specialist advice across the full spectrum of the food chain, including transactions involving rhubarb, Vital, Café Rouge, Ministry of Cake and others.

Piper invested in Loungers in April 2012 when the business comprised 20 Lounges and three Cosy Club sites across the UK. Over the past four years, the company has more than quadrupled the number of sites to 94, opening 20 a year since 2014 and creating employment for almost 2,000 people.

Mark says: “We are really pleased to have been able to support Piper and management on this exciting chapter in the Loungers story and look forward to watching Loungers continue to flourish through the next phase of its growth with Lion Capital.”

Alex Reilley, Co-Founder and Chairman, ‘Loungers’ comments: “We’ve enjoyed a long relationship to date with Burges Salmon and Mark, Richard and the team at Burges Salmon did a fantastic job on this transaction. Always calm, utterly professional, and really nice people Burges Salmon ensured the whole process was seamlessly smooth and, surprisingly, enjoyable.”

Key contact

Mark Shepherd

Mark Shepherd Partner

  • Head of Private Equity
  • Corporate
  • Healthcare

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