New World Trading Company (NWTC) has been acquired by private equity firm Graphite Capital in a deal worth £50 million. The news follows the death of co-founder Tim Bacon from cancer in April.
The pub and restaurant business was founded in 2011 by Living Ventures owners Bacon and Jeremy Roberts. It now operates 14 pubs and restaurants nationally, under five sub brands: The Botanist, The Oast House, Smugglers Cove, The Trading House and The Club House.
Graphite initiated the acquisition process with an off-market bid for NWTC. Chief executive Chris Hill and the senior management team are to stay with the company.
'It is particularly bitter sweet for me personally to be announcing this news today,' said Roberts. 'Tim was extremely proud of the business model we have created at Living Ventures and this transaction was the last deal we were working on together. It is so sad that he is not here to share it with me. But I know he would be delighted with the achievement and I know he was pleased with the home that NWTC is going to.
'Graphite have acquired a great business and, in Chris Hill, have secured the services of one of the brightest of our prodigies.'
Graphite has previously backed companies including Wagamama, helping it grow from two to over 100 sites. It has current investments in Corbin & King, which operates London restaurants including The Wolseley, The Delaunay and Brasserie Zédel.
Graphite partner Omar Kayat said: 'NWTC has rapidly established itself as one of the most innovative and respected pub and restaurant operators in the market. The company's multi-branded approach to all day-dining combined with live entertainment in the evening has been hugely successful nationwide. We look forward to helping Chris and his team in their continued expansion across the UK.'
NWTC opened seven new sites in the past 15 months, with more openings planned in Sheffield, York and Reading in the coming months. The company currently employs more than 900 people.
Chris Hill said: 'We are delighted to be working with Graphite. Their partnership approach was attractive to us and their experience in supporting roll-outs in the pub and restaurant sector will be invaluable in the coming years. They share our vision for the future of the business and our enthusiasm for pushing out the traditional boundaries of the pub industry.'