The acquisition of Wok to Walk by the Japanese hospitality group Toridoll is, according to the Dutch Corporate Finance Association, the best transaction of 2015. The deal was supported by Capitalmind, an international corporate finance firm – the advisory firm was on the back of its performance named the best acquisition advisor, ahead of Grant Thornton and Florijnz.
The Dutch Corporate Finance Association (DCFA) is a Dutch association of M&A professions with more than 200 members. Every year the association hands out, as part of its annual congress, the ‘Deal of the Year Award’. The prize singles out the most creative, complex, multidisciplinary and successful transaction of the previous year.
Wok to Walk takeover
This year the jury of experts’ judgement fell unanimous in favour of the takeover of wok restaurant chain Wok to Walk by the Japanese hospitality group Toridoll. The deal, with a reported value of between €15 and €25 million, was advised on by Capitalmind, an international corporate finance firm*. Capitalmind can thereby call itself the best M&A advisor of the past year in the Netherlands.
Wok to Walk is an international restaurant chain with approximately 65 Wok restaurants, of which around 50 are franchises. The acquisition deal was complicated by the fact that not all of the Japanese buyers spoke adequate English. The deal was further complicated by the fact that a number of franchise operators were not keen to handover ownership of their restaurants to Toridoll – they are now required to pay a franchise fee to the new owner, who holds all the rights to the Wok to Walk concept and brand. In total Capitalmind worked for six months to close the deal. Under the wings of the new owner, Wok to Walk expects to pursue rapid international expansion, with new restaurants already planned in Paris and Rome, among others.
Jury Chairman Peter Paul de Vries highlights the complexity behind the deal: “As the adviser to the Japanese buyer, Capitalmind managed to make initial contact with the owner and prevented the complexity of the starting situation to hinder further negotiations. The Dutch team were able to tactfully and effectively overcome the major physical and cultural distance between Jewish hospitality businesses, with their headquarters in Barcelona, and Japanese buyers, in Tokyo.”
Peter Wild, board member of the DCFA, calls the winning transaction a prime example of what the professional association stands for. “I am immensely proud that our members submit case studies each year that demonstrate the high quality of their services and mutual cooperation.”
The other finalists for the Deal of the Year Award were Grant Thornton and Florijnz. Grant Thornton supported a takeover deal between a Dutch and an American healthcare provider, while Florijnz supported a merger deal between two bailiffs. In 2014 the DCFA prise went to the Antea Participations for their role in the management buyout of UnieKaas.
* Capital Mind has offices in the Netherlands, France and Denmark (established in september last year). In addition, the firm is member of Mergers Alliance, a network of M&A offices with more than 350 professionals in 50 offices worldwide.