Piramal, Bain-backed India RF invests ₹550 cr for majority stake in Impresario Entertainment


Bengaluru: India Resurgence Fund (IndiaRF), an India-focused investment platform promoted by Piramal Enterprises Ltd and global private equity major Bain Capital, on Monday announced an investment of 550 crore, or $66.5 million, in ‘Social’ brand’s Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality Pvt Ltd.

Following the transaction, IndiaRF has become the majority shareholder of Impresario and L Catterton Asia has exited its five-year old investment in the firm.

“The fresh capital will help fuel the further expansion of Impresario’s business, which also received an investment from L Catterton in 2017 and has since demonstrated resilient growth over the years despite facing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” IndiaRF said in a statement.

Lodha Capital Markets was the exclusive financial adviser to L Catterton and Impresario on the transaction.

Since last few months, the Asian arm of L Catterton, the world’s largest consumer-focused private equity firm, which is backed by Louis Vuitton owner LVMH, was in talks to cede control from pandemic-hit Impresario.

With massive expansion followed by the pandemic, the firm has been facing severe cash crunch and was in talks to raise funds, said a person aware of the development.

“While the journey through the pandemic was especially tough for the restaurant sector, we were able to not only sustain, but also strengthen our business. As we now begin a new chapter with IndiaRF, we look forward to a fruitful collaboration which we believe will propel Impresario to an exciting next stage of growth. We look forward to building on the momentum we have generated over the years as we partnered with L Catterton, which shared its consumer insights and industry expertise with us to help us grow,” said Riyaaz Amlani, founder and managing director of Impresario.

Founded by restaurateur Riyaaz Amlani in 2001, Impresario owns and manages an umbrella of restaurant brands including Social, Mocha, Smoke House Deli, Salt Water Cafe, Slink & Bardot and Souffle across urban India, spanning over 60 locations in 17 cities in the country.

So far, it has invested in Panacea Biotec, India Steel Corporation, Thrissur Expressway Ltd, Setco Automotive Ltd, Primacy Industries Ltd and others.

IndiaRF invests capital from its $629 million first fund along with its co-investors in both debt and equity control investments across sectors in the Indian market. It looks to invest in businesses that have fundamentally strong growth prospects linked to consumption and infrastructure needs of India.

Shantanu Nalavadi, managing director of IndiaRF, said, “IndiaRF is delighted to partner with Impresario, which has built a profitable business on the back of strong brands, a professional team and a culture that allows the company to stay nimble and creative. We plan to work alongside and augment the efforts of the management team, by leveraging on our deep operational engagement across multiple sectors. We believe that the next decade will see significant opportunities for Impresario as non-metro cities come up India’s aspirational curve and become major economic centres.”

Impresario’s largest brand, Social, has 35 outlets and is an extremely popular spot for socialising and networking. It aims to offer innovative food and beverage (F&B) at attractive price points with an immersive experience and ambience, which doubles up as a co-working space in the day. The firm’s other popular brands Smoke House Deli, Mocha, Slink & Bardot, and Salt Water Café provide contemporary formal and casual settings for friends and family.

The food company also owns and operates dark kitchen brands like BOSS Burger, Lucknowee and HungLi. The company’s core strength lies in understanding the changing dining habits of young India and delivering quality experiences tailored to delight its patrons.

“In the future, Impresario plans to double its number of outlets as India’s F&B market gets more organised, with growth in the high teens expected over the coming years,” the statement said.

It also plans to target India’s growing middle class, as well as millennial and Gen Z consumers who are looking for refreshing and engaging experiences. The company will enlarge its current geographical footprint from 17 to more than 30 cities as part of its expansion plan.

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