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Mayfair Equity Partners sells Snowfox Group to Zensho Holdings for $621m

Mayfair Equity Partners (Mayfair), a private investment firm focused on the consumer and technology sectors, has fully exited its investment in YO! owner Snowfox Group after securing all necessary regulatory approvals for the sale of the business to Zensho Holdings Co in a $621m deal.

The transaction, which sees Snowfox’s leadership team, including CEO Richard Hodgson, remaining with the company, represents the largest consumer exit by a UK private equity firm in 2023.

Founded in 1982, Japanese food group Zensho is developing a wide range of food businesses and expanding globally. The company operates a diverse portfolio of businesses in Japan, including the beef bowl restaurant Sukiya, the 100-yen sushi restaurant Hama-sushi, and the family restaurant Coco’s, as well as retail and nursing care businesses.

Outside of Japan, the company also operates Sukiya, Hama-sushi mainly in East Asia, Advanced Fresh Concepts (AFC) mainly in the US, and The Chicken Rice Shop (TCRS), which operates halal-certified chicken rice shops in Malaysia.

Since Mayfair’s investment in YO! in 2015, the group has increased its EBITDA by over 4x to £39.3 million in FY22. Mayfair has supported the Company’s successful diversification strategy, helped to deliver international expansion, and three transformative acquisitions, the 2017 acquisition of Bento, followed by Taiko in 2018, and the merger with Snowfox in 2019, which gave the company a significant US presence. The SnowFox Group was subsequently established in 2021.

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