EG Group has bought the largest KFC franchisee in the UK & Ireland from The Herbert Group, based in Belfast.

It has also entered into a binding agreement to acquire ASX-listed Oliver’s Real Food Limited.

The Herbert Group acquisition includes 146 KFC Restaurants and 1 Pizza Hut Store, as well as a development pipeline and a small number of non-trading sites. It means EG Group now operates more than 1,500 food-to-go retail concessions across 10 international markets including the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany, United States of America and Australia.

This acquisition also sees EG Group bolster its global employee tally by a further 4,000 or so staff members.

Zuber Issa, co-founder and co-CEO of EG Group said: “Securing The Herbert Group portfolio is well aligned to our long-term strategic growth plans and builds on our commitment to grow the EG Group’s presence in the food-to-go retail convenience segment. The Herbert Group portfolio is a great strategic addition and complements our expanding operations in the UK and furthermore, now allows us entry into the Irish market."

Paula McKenzie, general manager at KFC UK & Ireland said: “I’d like to personally thank all of the Herbert Group team for their partnership and contribution to our brand over the past 39 years. We’re pleased that EG Group have acquired these restaurants – it shows confidence in investing in KFC and comes at an exciting time for our brand, off the back of unprecedented sales growth in 2020 so far. The acquisition demonstrates EG Group’s ability to be a partner of choice and we’re looking forward to supporting them as they unlock further investment and growth in the years ahead.”

EG Group has also entered into a binding agreement to acquire ASX-listed Oliver’s Real Food Limited via a scheme of arrangement. If the scheme is implemented, Oliver’s shareholders will receive A$0.10 cash per Oliver share, valuing Oliver’s diluted equity at approximately A$27m.

Zuber Issa said: “EG delivers innovative food and convenience offers to customers internationally and we are committed to bringing market-leading offers to our Australian customers. In Oliver’s we see a concept that meets a global trend towards healthy and sustainable eating.”

Mike McMenamin, EG Australia CEO added: “Oliver’s has developed a strong following in Australia, and has been very well received by our customers in trials at a number of our stores. This acquisition presents a great opportunity for us to enter the Australian restaurant market and the potential to enhance our convenience offer across our 500+ store network. We look forward to the Oliver’s team joining the EG Australia family.”

Jason Gunn, Oliver’s founder, director and CEO said: “This transaction is a huge positive for our customers, our dedicated team, our suppliers and our shareholders. We are looking forward to working with the EG Group for this next phase of our journey.”

The transaction is subject to customary terms and conditions including, Oliver’s shareholder approval and court approval. Completion is expected to occur mid-2020.

Citigroup is acting as financial advisor and Allen & Overy LLP as legal advisor to EG Group.