Olswang acts for the shareholders of Hawksmoor on management buy-out

30 Jul, 2013

International law firm Olswang has advised the shareholders of high-end steak restaurant concept “The Hawksmoor” on the sale of their stake in the business to leading UK mid-market private equity specialist, Graphite Capital. 


Olswang’s Leisure practice has acted for the selling shareholders and the management team of Underdog Restaurants Limited, the owner of The Hawksmoor, to Carnivore Bidco Limited, the bid vehicle of Graphite Capital.  


Started in 2006 with a restaurant in Spitalfields by childhood friends, Will Beckett and Huw Gott, Hawksmoor has since gained critical and popular success, leading to the opening of two more venues at Seven Dials in Covent Garden and Guildhall in The City, and culminating with the opening in 2012 of their largest restaurant to date in Air Street.


Following Graphite’s investment, Beckett, Gott and non-executive director Paul Campbell will stay in their roles and are re-investing into the company.  Karen Jones, non-executive director at Rex Restaurant Associates, is joining Hawksmoor as non-executive Chairman, further strengthening the board’s expertise in the restaurant sector.

Head of the Olswang Leisure practice David Roberts said: “Will and Huw have built a remarkable business in a short space of time and we have been lucky enough to have been on the inside to witness what makes a hospitality business great, which is a commitment to customer satisfaction and quality food and drink.  We see continued growth for the brand in the UK and look forward to continuing our relationship with two emerging stars of the London restaurant scene.”


Hawksmoor’s Finance Director Alex McLauchlan said: “This was an important transaction for the business and the shareholders and management felt comforted to have Olswang on board as they really have become the go to advisers in the London restaurant space for deals like these.  David and Gordon have the right blend of hard won deal experience and the soft skills to work with management to make transactions like this enjoyable.”


The Olswang leisure team has completed some of the highest profile restaurant deals in the country over the last 12 months, including acting for shareholders and management on the sale of D&D London to LDC, acting for management on the buyout of Pizza Hut, acting for ISIS in relation to its investment into Pho, acting for Calculus Capital on its investment into Benito’s Hat, acting for Hill Capital on its investment in New World Pub Group, acting for Hakkasan on the acquisition of Sake No Hana and acting for Richard Caring on the joint venture behind Balthazar.


The Olswang team was led by Corporate Partner David Roberts (pictured) with assistance from Lead Corporate Associate Gordon Ker. The deal involved additional support from Partner Chris Mackie, tax partners Graham Chase, Stephen Smith, Andrew Quayle and real estate partners Matthew Speed and Marcus Barclay. Graphite Capital was advised by Macfarlanes LLP.

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