Apollo may have competition for eatery group TRG

IK exits to Vitruvian; Epiris automotive carve-out.

Top of the menu today we look at Apollo Global Management having a potential rival in its bid to take UK eatery company The Restaurant Group private, as the owner of PizzaExpress shows interest in the business.

We then switch to exits, where IK Partners agrees to sell a professional services tech company to Vitruvian Partners and Progressio exits its stake in a PET preforms manufacturer.

Finishing the Dealflow today, Epiris carves out an aftermarket automotive parts supplier whose previous owner had to divest it under competition rules.

Pizza the action

Apollo Global Management has some potential competition in its pursuit of The Restaurant Group (TRG), owner of brands such as Wagamama, with the owner of PizzaExpress entering the fray.

The TRG board this morning confirmed that it had received a request from PizzaExpress Group owner Wheel Topco for diligence information. No price or any other details on a possible offer have been made, however.

TRG said it will provide the information and will make further announcements as appropriate.

The board added that its intention to recommend Apollo’s offer to shareholders remains in place.

Apollo and TRG announced earlier in October that they had agreed an offer that valued TRG’s total equity at £506 million ($623 million; €586 million) and an enterprise value of £701 million, a multiple of around 9x TRG’s adjusted EBITDA for the 12 months to 2 July.

The share price offer of 65p gives a premium of 67 percent over the average of the last 12 months, 49 percent over the last six months and 34 percent over the previous day’s close.

Read our coverage of the announcement for more on the Apollo offer, including the views of analysts at Stifel and at Goodbody.

We’ve asked Apollo for comment on the PizzaExpress Group interest.


We’ve seen a healthy dose of exits this week, perhaps suggesting that things are opening up a little in that area.

IK Partners has reached an agreement to sell Aspia, an accounting, payroll, tax and advisory services technology company, to Vitruvian Partners.

Stockholm, Sweden-based Aspia was formed in 2018 when IK VIII Fund made a series of acquisitions: PwC’s business services division in Sweden, KPMG’s accounting and payroll business in Sweden and Skeppsbron Skatt.

Aspia has broadened its customer base, expanded its service offering and enhanced its presence across the Nordics with IK’s support, according to a release.

“As the financial and regulatory environment for businesses is becoming increasingly complex, Aspia has built an unrivalled combination of leading outsourcing services and digital tools to act as a trusted partner to companies in the Swedish and Nordic business community,” said Jussi Wuoristo, partner at Vitruvian.

Vitruvian will support Aspia to continue its growth across multiple markets and service areas, in addition to investing in the digital platforms available to its customers, the release said.


Sticking with sales, and yesterday Progressio announced that it had sold its stake in Garda Plast Group, a PET preforms manufacturer, to Valgroup.

GP Group was formed through the aggregation between Garda Plast and IFAP, led by Progressio. It generated revenues of over €90 million in 2022. Garda Plast and IFAP are based in Brescia and Udine in Italy, respectively.


Epiris has acquired GSF Car Parts, an aftermarket automotive parts supplier, via Epiris Fund III.

GSF provides 180,000 branded and own-label parts for petrol, diesel and electric cars and vans as well as workshop equipment and technical support. It is based in Birmingham.

The business is a carve-out from LKQ Corporation, which agreed with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority to sell the unit after its acquisition of Uni-Select, which is in the same sector as GSF.

“GSF serves a large and resilient market: in the UK there are more than 25 million cars that are over three years old, and all need to be maintained to the standards set by the MOT test,” said Chris Hanna, partner at Epiris, in a statement. “GSF has an established position supplying the myriad products required to maintain these vehicles, with an offering built on customer service, product range and availability.”

GSF is the fourth investment from Fund III. This follows its agreement to acquire Pure Cremation in July, acquisition of LoneStar Group in March and Delinian in 2022.