SINGAPORE, March 8 — Three large global investors are close to buying a minority stake in a group of high-end restaurants including the Nusr-Et Steakhouse, known for Turkish chef and social media phenomenon “Salt Bae”.
The investors including Singapore’s Temasek and Government Investment Corporation of Singapore (GIC) are in talks over the potential purchase of D.ream Group, a subsidiary of Dogus Group, which owns the restaurants, with a valuation close to US$1.5 billion (RM5.86 billion), say two people familiar with the discussions.
Metric Capital, a London-based investment firm with about US$2 billion assets under management, is also part of the consortium for the potential deal. An announcement could come as soon as tomorrow.
Salt Bae is the nickname of butcher and chef Nusret Gokce, who opened the first Nusr-Et in Istanbul in 2010. He became an Internet sensation for the flair and flourish with which he cuts and salts his steak.
Since Gokce gained popularity online last year, Nusr-Et has expanded, opening restaurants in Miami and Manhattan alongside outlets in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha and a burger restaurant in Turkey.
The investment would include about US$200 million in equity, say two people familiar with the discussions, and would also involve the restaurants Coya, Zuma and Roka.
The potential deals come at a time when Britain’s casual dining restaurants are suffering dwindling sales and profits. TPG-owned Prezzo is set to close 100 restaurants as it embarks of restructuring.
Private equity-owned Byron, a struggling burger chain, reached a deal with creditors last month as it looked to secure its future in an overcrowded sector.
But restaurants such as Nusr-Et are seen as luxury chains on par with brands like Gucci and LVMH, reducing exposure to parts of the market where others have struggled.
“This is the key rationale for the transaction,” a person familiar with the talks said, adding that over the past two years such businesses have flourished, in contrast with many high street brands.
The transaction, if completed, makes sense for the investors, according to Johnny Colville, managing director of the financial sponsors group in Europe for advisory firm Houlihan Lokey.
Colville, who has advised on restaurant deals including the acquisition of Loungers and Rhubarb, said: “These restaurants have cachet and a strong brand. Landlords are also willing to contribute to the fitting (of venues) if they know they have someone who is going to stay for many years.”
Turkish-owned Dogus has reportedly been planning a stock market listing but people close to the transaction said this was now expected to be two to three years away.
Temasek and Metric Capital declined to comment. GIC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. — TODAY