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Palatine backs Gusto MBO

Gusto Restaurant and Bar has completed a management buyout from Living Ventures, with the support of an equity investment from Palatine Private Equity.

The Knutsford-based restaurant brand, which was founded in 2007 following a re-launch from Est Est Est, is looking to open more restaurants across the UK over the next three to four years.
The Living Ventures Group was founded in 1999 by CEO Tim Bacon and commercial director Jeremy Roberts. It owns other well-known brands including Blackhouse, Australasia, Artisan and The Alchemist, and recorded group sales of GBP65m in the year to March 2014 – a 36 per cent increase on the previous year.
Both Bacon and Roberts have invested in the new Gusto business and will stay on as non-executive directors. Gusto’s managing director Sue Crimes and operations director Tony Griffin will join the board, with Palatine’s managing partner Gary Tipper and investment director Beth Houghton, who led the investment process completing the team.
Gusto currently operates across nine sites in the North including, Alderley Edge, Cookridge, Cheadle Hulme, Didsbury, Edinburgh, Heswall, Knutsford, Liverpool and Newcastle. This year, the business achieved sales of GBP16.4m and currently employs more than 400 staff across the various locations.
Gusto is plans to launch a new flagship restaurant in Manchester city centre.
Crimes says: “This is a very exciting time for myself and the Gusto team. I am delighted that a partnership with Palatine has been formed and that together we will grow Gusto into a larger national business. Gusto is already a successful brand but I believe this deal will see it become a recognised brand throughout the country.”
Tipper says: “We’ve been talking to the Living Ventures team for a number of years and we are delighted to be supporting them in this expansion of Gusto. The Gusto team have done an excellent job to date and we look forward to introducing the brand to other parts of the UK.”

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