Post-horsemeat, Tesco set to buy Giraffe in bold £50m deal
Supermarket sticks its neck out to acquire family friendly chain as part of plan to reboot business
TESCO is to buy the Giraffe restaurant chain in a "bold" deal worth up to £50 million as part of its attempts to refresh the business after a dismal 2012, according to The Times.
The acquisition would bring the Giraffe chain's 47 eateries under Tesco's control but, more crucially, it would also allow the supermarket giant to open a familiar high-street brand aimed at families in its stores.
The deal, which is believed to be imminent, comes after Britain's biggest supermarket acquired a 49 per cent stake in coffee shop chain Harris + Hoole and made an undisclosed investment in Euphorium Bakery.
Tesco has endured a tough time recently. In 2012 it reported its first fall in profits since 1994 and was voted Britain's worst supermarket by consumers. Although sales figures for the supermarket improved over Christmas, the company has warned the impact of the horsemeat scandal will affect their profit margins.
The deal with Giraffe will be seen as part of the company's fight-back, with chief executive Philip Clarke saying he hopes the addition of such outlets within larger stores will provide "another reason for customers to shop with us".
According to The Times, Tesco will keep on Giraffe's founders, husband-and-wife team Russel and Juliette Joffe, as well as the restaurant's management team. The Joffes, who founded the chain in Hampstead in 1998, are understood to be selling their stake in the company. Private equity firm 3i, who own a 36 per cent stake in the chain worth about £10 million, are also set to cash in. ·