Beijing-based Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital has acquired British food brand Pizza Express for £900 million (US$1.2 billion) in the biggest acquisition of a European food company in the past five years, according to a company announcement made by Hony Capital.
Hony bought the restaurant chain from London-based buyout group Cinven, which purchased Pizza Express for £1.3 billion (US$1.8 billion) in 2007 just before the global financial crisis.
“With Pizza Express, we have the opportunity to leverage our local expertise to accelerate its growth in the Chinese market, as well as to continue to drive its business forward in the U.K.," says Hony Capital’s CEO, John Zhao.
Founded in London in 1965, Pizza Express operates 436 stores in Britain. It owns 22 branch restaurants in China, including one in Beijing, nine in Shanghai, and 12 in Hong Kong.