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Yo! Sushi eyes North American expansion with £59mn takeover of Bento Sushi

Yo! Sushi, the UK-based restaurant chain, has confirmed that it is to acquire Canada’s Bento Sushi for CAN$100mn as it set its sights on expansion in No...

Laura Mullan
|Nov 21|magazine6 min read

Yo! Sushi, the UK-based restaurant chain, has confirmed that it is to acquire Canada’s Bento Sushi for CAN$100mn as it set its sights on expansion in North America.

The takeover of Bento Sushi will create one of the world's largest Japanese dining brands outside of Japan, with the two companies recording about GBP£175nm in combined sales in the past year. 

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The acquisition of Bento, the second largest sushi brand in North America, was driven by Mayfair Equity Partners, an investment firm which backed a management buyout of Yo! Sushi in 2015. 

The move is intended to diversify Yo! Sushi’s business model, allowing it to become both a supplier of the food as well as a restaurant chain. 

“We’ve successfully reinvigorated the business over the last two years to ensure the foundations are in place for long-term growth,” said Robin Rowland, CEO of YO! Sushi. 
 
“This acquisition takes YO! into the next stage of its development, and creates the first global multi-channel Japanese food purveyor.”
 
“Bento’s proposition and its management team’s strong track record make it the ideal partner for YO! as we look to further grow our brand.”
 
Over the past 18 months, Yo! Sushi has seen like-for-like sales growth of over +5%.

The restaurant chain also opened eight new sites in the UK, as well as its first sites in Manhattan, Paris, and Sydney. 

As part of the deal, the chairman of Bento Sushi, Ken Valvur, and CEO, Glenn Brown, will join the Yo! Sushi board.

Glenn Brown, CEO of Bento Sushi, said: “This partnership presents Bento with an incredible opportunity to grow its platform. YO! and Bento share a similar ethos and history, and we look forward to working with the YO! team and taking advantage of opportunities to develop both brands."

Ken Valvur, Chairman of Bento Sushi, added: “The combination of YO! and Bento will further enhance our group’s ability to be the partner of choice for grocery and institutional food service providers throughout our enlarged operating geography, and creates exciting opportunities for our valued team members on both sides of the Atlantic.”