Bakery and café chain Le Pain Quotidien has been sold in a pre-pack deal.Immediately after the appointment of administrators last Thursday (11 June), the UK business and assets for 15 of the chain’s 26 sites were sold to BrunchCo UK Limited.However, Le Pain Quotidien’s (LPQ) head office and 11 remaining sites were closed immediately, resulting in 200 redundancies. The remaining 333 staff have been transferred to BrunchCo.BrunchCo UK is a subsidiary of BrunchCo 21 SA, a newly formed holding company majority owned by Belgian private equity investors M80. The company is also acquiring the Belgian and French assets of LPQ as well as its brand and the international franchises.LPQ, like many hospitality businesses, has struggled with tough market conditions for a number of years, according to administrators Alvarez & Marsal.In its latest full-year filing at Companies House, for the year to 31 December 2018, LPQ reported a 4% year-on-year drop in revenue to £38m, making a loss of £700,000. At the time, the company referred to reduced footfall and cost pressures.The administrators added that the Covid-19 outbreak had exacerbated the situation.BrunchCo is now holding talks with LPQ’s remaining landlords regarding the structure of its lease agreements and the future of the remaining sites.The new owner said it planned to make “significant investments” in LPQ to create a sustainable future for the UK business.“This acquisition secures the brand’s future in the UK, and we hope to conclude the restructuring process within the next few days,” said joint administrator Rob Croxen.“We appreciate the support of LPQ’s employees at this difficult time.”
A WASHED out final day of the third Test in Hamilton will see South Africa jump ahead of Australia in the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings, earning the Proteas a bonus $300 000 windfall.The tourists were set to resume at 5-80 on the fifth morning, still trailing New Zealand by 95 runs as the Black Caps pushed for a victory that would have levelled the series.But torrential and persistent rain at Seddon Park meant no play was possible and the Proteas escaped with the draw they needed to move ahead of Australia and into second place in the ICC rankings.South Africa will earn a $500 000 bonus for being in second place by the April 1 cut-off date, while Australia’s drop to third means they will pick up just $200 000.India, who strengthened their grip on top spot with a 2-1 series win over Australia, will earn $1M for finishing No.1.Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis admitted his side were fortunate to escape the match with a draw.“New Zealand outplayed us in this game,” said du Plessis, who led his side to a famous series win in Australia earlier in the summer.“They can count themselves very unlucky. They outplayed us in every department.”The draw is also a cruel blow to New Zealand, who will now drop from fifth to sixth spot, behind Pakistan.