Just Eat Takeaway.com unveils €1bn convertible bond offer: Just Eat Takeaway.com has launched a two-tranche convertible bonds offering, totalling €1bn. The company said it was offering two tranches of bonds, due August 2025 and February 2028. The notes will be issued at between 101.50% and 103.75% for the 2025 tranche and 100% of nominal value for the 2028 tranche and will be redeemed at 100% of nominal value. The 2025 bonds will not bear interest, while the 2028 bonds will be offered with a between 0.125% and 0.625% per annum interest rate. The company plans to use the funds for general corporate purposes and to increase its financial flexibility, allowing Just Eat “to act on strategic opportunities that may arise”. The business is expecting further order growth acceleration in the first 2021 financial quarter after three consecutive quarters of the same thanks to its growth strategy, investment in legacy Just Eat markets, and covid-19 tailwinds. The company said it is intending to continue heavy investment and prioritising market share over adjusted Ebitda. It stated: “The company believes that a stronger balance sheet provides additional financial flexibility to act on strategic opportunities that may arise.” Other uses of the proposed funds include payment of transactions costs for its Grubhub acquisition and potential funding requirements for its stake in iFood. Just Eat Takeaway.com stated: “While the business remains committed to selling its stake in iFood and returning a portion of the proceeds to shareholders, this will happen only when it is able to realise a fair value for this highly attractive and fast-growing asset. The timing of a potential sale and monetisation remains uncertain.”
 
Heineken takes full control of Brixton Brewery: Global brewer Heineken has taken full control of Brixton Brewery – three years after taking a significant minority stake in the business. Brixton Brewery was founded in 2013 by Jez Galaun, Libby Galaun, Mike Ross and Xochitl Benjamin. The initial investment by Heineken at the end of 2017 allowed the brewery to remain in its eponymous home and increase its brewing capacity from 12,000 pints a week to 60,000 with the purchase of a new, 15,000 square foot brewery site. The founders will continue to lead the brewery’s day-to-day operations and strategic and creative direction. The founders said: “When we look back over the past seven years, we honestly can’t believe how far we’ve come – from homebrewing to launching a small brewery, to building a highly recognisable community-based brand, with a larger new brewery and taproom. It makes us want to dream even bigger for the next seven. To realise our original vision of helping people everywhere get a taste of Brixton, we’re announcing following a successful three years working with Heineken, we are expanding this partnership in a deal that will see Heineken fully acquire Brixton Brewery. This will mean a bright future for our community-based business. We look forward to this next chapter. Our beer will be increasingly available UK-wide, we will continue to strengthen our approach to community and sustainability and we will keep on investing in Brixton through our brewery, taproom and newly renovated experimental brewery. We are committed to creating and sustaining good jobs in Brixton, and hiring a diverse range of people who love beer and Brixton as much as we do.” North London brewer Beavertown sold a minority stake of its business to Heineken for £40m in 2018.
Loungers secures pair of former PizzaExpress sites: Cafe-bar operator Loungers has further strengthened its 2021 site pipeline after securing another two ex-PizzaExpress sites. The company has secured the former PizzaExpress sites in Church Street, Blackpool, and in Sandside, Scarborough, respectively. Loungers has already secured the ex-PizzaExpress sites in St Ives, Cornwall, and Devizes, Wiltshire, for openings later this year. The Lounge in Devizes will be called Condado Lounge, the one in St Ives will be called Tretho Lounge, and the site in Scarborough will reopen as Marisco Lounge. The company is also set to open a branch in the former Dorothy Perkins store in St Neots Market Square, Cambridgeshire, this summer, plus a site in Aberystwyth. In December, Nick Collins, chief executive of Loungers, told Propel the property market has never been better for opportunities to open higher revenue and Ebitda sites. He said the pipeline for 2021 looked “very strong” as the Lounge and Cosy Club operator looked toward growing its circa 170-strong portfolio to 300 sites. In its presentation document, the company said it had exchanged on 13 sites, 12 were at heads of term stage, 19 were in negotiation and 21 were under consideration. Loungers chairman Alex Reilley tweeted: “Rishi Sunak tell us what the plan is and we’ll start planning the recovery – we’ve got a cracking pipeline of more than 20 new sites lined up ready to develop including a quartet of seaside Lounges, in St Ives, Blackpool, Aberystwyth, and Scarborough.”
Gordon Ramsay confirms he is pushing ahead with plans for fourth Street Pizza, at Battersea Power Station: Gordon Ramsay has confirmed he is pushing ahead with plans to open his fourth Street Pizza, at Battersea Power Station in the spring. Ramsay is launching the venue in Arches Lane in the former Mother Pizza premises, next to Cinnamon Kitchen. Posting a picture on Instagram at the weekend of his son Oscar in a pushchair outside the site, Ramsay said: “@oscarjramsay is a little early for @gordonramsaystreetpizza #batterseapowerstation. Third and final lockdown can’t end quick enough.” The menu focuses on a bottomless pizza offer with a pizza and prosecco brunch at weekends. Ramsay, who currently has 35 restaurants around the world, is planning to open 50 more sites across the UK. Last month Propel revealed Alyson Park, former HR director at Caprice Holdings, has joined Gordon Ramsay Restaurants as its new chief operating officer.
Where The Pancakes Are secures ex-PizzaExpress site in Fitzrovia: Where The Pancakes Are, the buttermilk pancakes and cafe concept, is to open a second site this spring, in London’s Fitzrovia, Propel has learned. The concept, which was founded by Patricia Trijbits in 2015, is set to launch at the former PizzaExpress site in Charlotte Street. Trijbits told Propel the company was looking at further growth opportunities for the business across the capital over the next two years. The company had previously been in talks to open at 94 Great Portland Street but failed to secure the required licence on the site. The business opened its first site in autumn 2016, at Flat Iron Square in London Bridge. The concept previously operated a number of pop-ups and street food stalls across the capital. Rob Meadows, at Davis Coffer Lyons, acted on the Charlotte Street deal.
Moto appoints new chairman: Moto, the UK’s biggest motorway service area operator, has appointed Chris Rowlands as its new chairman. Rowlands, who is already a non-executive director with Moto, is employed by Universities Superannuation Scheme, Moto’s majority shareholder, and succeeds Mike Tye, who will be stepping down from the board after completing his term of four years as chairman. Rowlands began his career at Barclays Bank, before joining Arthur Andersen as a corporate finance partner. He also spent almost 20 years with the 3i Group, where he was business leader for Asia and for Europe. Rowlands has also served as deputy chairman of the Principality Building Society. Moto chief executive Ken McMeikan said: “I would like to thank Mike on behalf of the board for his invaluable contribution throughout his four years tenure, particularly his fantastic support to re-position Moto to become an even more customer-centric business, the appointment of a new senior management team, as well as providing his wise counsel to successfully navigate the many challenges of covid-19. I look forward to continuing to work with Chris in his new role as chairman. He brings a huge breadth of knowledge and experience and will provide important continuity for Moto as we position ourselves for continued growth.” Rowlands said: “I am proud to have been asked to succeed Mike and look forward to continuing the work with the Moto team to accelerate the company’s growth through the delivery of our vision, which is to transform the UK’s rest stop experience.”
Ex-Just Eat CEO Buttress invests in Egypt’s fastest-growing food delivery business: David Buttress, the former chief executive of Just Eat, has invested in and joined the board of Elmenus, Egypt’s fastest-growing online food ordering company. Buttress, who left Just Eat in 2017, is currently a venture partner at global venture capital firm 83 North. Elmenus was founded in 2011 by its current chief executive Amir Allam and focuses on personalising food recommendations on its online food ordering platform. The company now counts more than 1.5 million monthly users and claims to have achieved 300% month-on-month growth. Allam said: “As we aim to become the go-to food app for all dining decisions, and a partner of choice to restaurants to help them solve their scaling challenges in the Middle East and north Africa region, I believe David’s insights and exceptional record will play a vital role in accelerating our growth and guiding Elmenus in acquiring a significant share of the market. We are very excited to be working with an industry veteran like David. His belief in our vision is a grand testament to us.” Buttress said: “While Elmenus witnessed three times growth in 2020 since delivery increased drastically in light of the covid-19 challenges and more restaurants outsourced their delivering operations, the company is expected to grow ten times in 2021 as it upscales its product and restaurant offerings. It is an exciting time in the company’s evolution.”
Whitbread to open four new Scottish hotels ahead of expected staycation boom:Whitbread is set to open four new Premier Inn hotels in Scotland ahead of an expected staycation boom. Together the hotels will add more than 550 bedrooms into Premier Inn’s growing network in Scotland and are expected to create about 150 jobs. A 249-bedroom hotel in Glasgow’s St Enoch Square will include the first Bar + Block steakhouse in Scotland and grow Premier Inn’s network of hotels in the centre of Scotland’s largest city to more than 1,200 rooms. The opening of a 136-bedroom property in Princes Street will take Premier Inn’s network in Edinburgh to more than 1,000 rooms. The most northerly Premier Inn will open in Thurso in May, located on the North Coast 500 tourist route in the Highlands. Completing the line-up is a new Premier Inn and Beefeater in Hamilton town centre. Alex Flach, development director at Premier Inn, said: “We expect this summer will be a busy year for staycations so it’s fantastic to have four Premier Inn hotels opening in such popular locations in Scotland – from prime city centre sites to adventure tourism hotspots. Despite the challenges posed by covid-19, we are committed to growing our network of Premier Inn hotels in Scotland and see strong long-term demand for our bedrooms in both urban and popular leisure locations. We’re actively on the lookout for new opportunities.” Outside the UK, Whitbread’s expansion plans are focused on Germany where it has an open and committed pipeline of 12,000 hotel rooms across 68 hotels in key towns and cities across the country.
Dale steps down from Stonegate, Vicary appointed to new role: Stonegate Group, the TDR Capital-backed company, has appointed Kate Vicary to the new role of director of communications and business planning. Vicary joined Stonegate as director of special projects last year from Heineken. She takes up her new role after Jon Dale decided to step down as director of communications at Stonegate. He previously spent more than three years heading up communications for Ei Group, which Stonegate completed the acquisition of early last year. Propel understands Dale is looking to pursue a new challenge in the sector. Tim Painter, HR director at Stonegate, told Propel: “We can confirm Jon Dale has left the company following our business realignment as we continue to integrate the Stonegate and Ei business functions. Kate Vicary, formerly director of special projects, is now appointed director of communications and business planning moving forward. We thank Jon for all his help and support throughout the integration period.”