Issa family's EG Group completes acquisition of LEON Restaurants

EG Group today revealed it had acquired LEON Restaurants Limited, the fresh fast food restaurant chain.

Sunday, 18th April 2021, 11:47 am
Updated Sunday, 18th April 2021, 11:48 am
LEON has gained new owners

Founded by John Vincent, Henry Dimbleby and chef Allegra McEvedy in 2004, LEON has more than 70 restaurants across the UK, as well as outlets in Oslo, Amsterdam, Dublin, Rotterdam and Gran Canaria.

Last year, Mr Vincent, joined forces with actors Damian Lewis, Helen McCrory and Matt Lucas to launch FeedNHS. The not-for-profit campaign raised vital funds and with partners delivered a million meals to key workers on the NHS front line during the Covid-19 pandemic.

LEON also launched a grocery range in Sainsbury’s supermarkets and a kitchenware and cookware range with John Lewis. The brand has published 12 cook books and sold more than one million books, along with cookware and tableware.

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In a statement, EG Group said: "Following the acquisition, EG Group intends to invest in the LEON brand and broaden the current food service offer across the extensive global site network. With plans to open around 20 LEON sites per year from 2022, EG Group also sees significant potential for LEON’s non-restaurant products across its convenience retail proposition."

Mohsin Issa CBE and Zuber Issa CBE, co-founders and co-CEOs of EG Group, said: “LEON is a fantastic brand that we have long admired. As established entrepreneurs in the food service retail market ourselves, we have a huge admiration for the business that John and the LEON team have built over the years, and firmly believe that their culture and values closely align with our own."

John Vincent, CEO, of LEON, said: “In some ways this is a sad day for me, to part company with the business I founded 17 years ago in Carnaby Street. But I have had the pleasure of getting to know Mohsin and Zuber across the last few years.

"They have been enthusiastic customers of LEON, going out of their way to eat here whenever they visit London. They are decent, hard-working business people who are committed to sustaining and further strengthening the values and culture that we have built at LEON, a business that has my dad’s name above the door.

"Mohsin and Zuber will not just be superb custodians of the LEON brand, through EG Group they have the vision, investment appetite, food service expertise and network scale to take LEON to many more people and places. This is what LEON has always been built for and I am confident under the new ownership, the brand will flourish and have even greater appeal to a broader customer base, especially outside of London.

"Thousands of people have been part of creating LEON experience. Each has left their mark, and I would like to thank everyone inside LEON, our partners and suppliers, and our guests who have visited us around 200 million times so far."

The Issa brothers and TDR Capital recently signed a deal to acquire Leeds-based Asda. This acquisition is still subject to CMA approval.

A spokesman stressed that EG Group wasn’t involved in this transaction.