Piper backs Loungers expansion

The private equity firm behind investments in Pitcher & Piano and Las Iguanas has provided growth capital to Bristol-based Loungers.

Cafe and bar chain Loungers has secured investment from Piper Private Equity as the business looks to grow its footprint to 50 outlets over the next three to five years.

The £16 million investment is the second made from Piper’s £107 million Piper V fund, which achieved a close in July 2011.

Consumer brands-focused Pipers has a history of making investments in the bar sector having been involved in the founding of the Pitcher & Piano chain and growth of Las Iguanas and Be At One.

Founded in 2002 by Alex Reilley, Jake Bishop and Dave Reid, Loungers now has 20 locations, addressing what it describes as the ‘third space’ between work and home.

Reilley says that the relationship with Piper began four years ago and that he has been impressed with the private equity firm’s support and interest in the business.

‘We see Piper as a great cultural fit for us, and very much like the company’s desire to understand our brand and customers and the driving forces behind our success,’ he adds.

‘We are now focused on scaling the business and ensuring we build an outstanding business and brand legend.’

As part of the deal, Peter Kemp-Welch, partner at Piper, will join the board of Loungers.

Kemp-Welch comments, ‘Loungers is an exceptional business with a highly driven and energetic management team that we are delighted to be backing.

‘Our research shows that there are hundreds more sites to go for and we believe the Lounges provide a completely new alternative for customers and have the potential to be ‘”the pub of the future”‘.

London-based Piper focuses on management buy-outs and buy-ins or growth capital investments in sectors such as retail, leisure, consumers products and services, targeting businesses with a £5-£50 million turnover.

Its last investment came in the form of an £8 million commitment to Be At One cocktail bars.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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Private Equity