Hony Capital, a private-equity firm controlled by China’s Legend Holdings, has entered into a deal to acquire Britain’s Pizza Express chain for around 900 million pounds (US$1.54 billion).
It marked the largest transaction in the European restaurant sector in five years, Xinhua news agency noted.
Following the deal, Hony will help Pizza Express expand into the China market, where an urbanization drive is expected to boost consumption in the coming years.
Pizza Express, headquartered in London, currently runs 505 restaurants in the United Kingdom as well as in other countries in Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. The group already runs 12 restaurants in Hong Kong, five in Shanghai and one in Beijing.
Hony’s acquisition is the latest in a growing list of Chinese firms taking an interest in British food brands. In May 2012, Bright Foods bought a 60 percent stake in cereal maker Weetabix.
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