Epiris today announces that Epiris Fund II, advised by Epiris LLP, has acquired the vast majority of the business and assets of Casual Dining Group, expected to comprise over 140 restaurants trading as Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas. Fund II has committed further financial resources to The Big Table, the new company through which the acquisition has been made, to fund working capital and investment requirements. This is Fund II’s seventh investment.

Prior to Covid-19, Casual Dining Group was one of the largest restaurant groups in the UK, and for many years operated some of the most recognisable brands in the market. The Big Table will continue to build on this experience whilst focusing on a smaller, more profitable estate of restaurants under the Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Café Rouge brands. The business has been entirely funded by Epiris, with no additional third-party debt, providing a strong foundation for its future growth.

The Big Table is led by CEO James Spragg and CFO Adrian Walker. A non-executive Chairman will be appointed in due course.

Ian Wood, Partner at Epiris, said:

“In common with most of the sector, The Big Table’s restaurants have been closed since late March. We will work with James and his team to re-open the restaurants, bringing over 4,000 people off furlough to enable customers to enjoy dining out again. This transaction will enable the business to trade through the uncertain months ahead and to invest in its three strong brands to deliver an even better experience for their customers.”

Alex Fortescue, Managing Partner at Epiris, said:

“This is the Fund’s seventh investment and a particularly notable one as it serves to rescue a good business from the consequences of Covid-19. We have a strong track record in the leisure sector, with successful recent investments including Hollywood Bowl, TGI Fridays and Parkdean Resorts, and we look forward to drawing on this experience in support of The Big Table.”

James Spragg, Chief Executive of The Big Table, said:

“We are all delighted to be able to open our restaurants again with the support of an investor with such a successful track record in the leisure sector as Epiris, and look forward to welcoming back our customers.”

The Epiris team on the deal is Alex Fortescue, Ian Wood, Alex Wilby, Zoe Lai and Pablo Espinoza.

Epiris is advised by Macfarlanes and PwC.



For Epiris LLP please contact:

Greenbrook Communications

Robert White, Matthew Goodman, Daniel Oliver

+44 (0)20 7952 2000



About Epiris

Epiris is a top-decile* private equity firm which invests in opportunities to transform businesses in partnership with exceptional management teams. It targets control positions in UK-headquartered businesses with an enterprise value of between £75 million and £500 million, deploying between £40 million and £150 million of equity.

Fund I

Between 2011 and 2016 Epiris invested £1 billion in buyouts and loan-to-own debt investments in respect of which it has delivered a gross IRR of 38%*. Synthetic net returns from this portfolio are in the top-decile of European private equity funds of comparable vintages.

Fund II

Epiris Fund II is an institutional private equity fund raised in 2017. Investments made by Fund II include Portals, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of “substrate” for banknotes; TI Media, one of the largest consumer magazine publishers in the UK; The Club Company, the UK’s largest country club operator; Bonhams, the global auction house; Diamorph, a supplier of advanced material solutions for demanding and safety-critical applications; and IFG Group, a financial services holding company whose subsidiaries are James Hay, which provides pensions administration and investment platform services, and Saunderson House, an independent wealth manager and financial adviser. In April 2020, the Fund sold TI Media to Future Plc for £140 million, generating a return of 2.1x MOIC, a 44% IRR.

For further information, please visit www.epiris.co.uk.

Issued by Epiris which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*As at 31 March 2020. Gross IRR does not reflect adjustments for investment management and administration costs. Comparator data supplied by Preqin. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.