Pho sells majority stake in business to TriSpan

05 August 2021 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read

The TriSpan-owned Rising Stars restaurant fund has purchased a majority stake in London-based street food chain Pho. AlixPartners advised the Vietnamese food chain on the transaction, having helped secure investment.  

Stephen and Juliette Wall opened ‘Pho’ in June 2005 after they travelled to Vietnam and fell in love with the food. Their restaurant takes its name from the famous Vietnamese soup dish consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat, sometimes chicken. 15 years after the first Pho restaurant opened in Clerkenwell, it is still a family-run business serving Vietnamese street food, cooked fresh daily without the use of centralised kitchens.

In recent years, the Pho brand has been expanding rapidly. Initially supported by investments from Tom and Ed Martin, it was further supported by Gresham House Ventures, who invested £4.4 million in 2012 to fund new restaurant sites. Pho now operates 30 restaurants across the UK, and three delivery-only locations – making it the UK’s leading casual Vietnamese group.

Pho sells majority stake in business to TriSpan

As Pho looks to build on this momentum, it has secured a new backer in the form of the Rising Stars restaurant fund. Owned by TriSpan, the fund has purchased Gresham House’s 30% stake as part of a move to take majority ownership of the company. The transaction will help the restaurant group as it plans to open a branch in Lincoln in the late summer of 2021. Pho is also understood to be actively reviewing other expansion opportunities, as the UK emerges from its year-long lockdown.

The founders and management will maintain a significant interest in the company. Stephen and Juliette Wall, founders of Pho, will remain in executive roles to help support the growth plan, while Patrick Marrinan, Pho’s former Finance Director, will lead the group as Managing Director in its next phase of growth. Robin Rowland, TriSpan European Operating Partner, will now chair the board with Steve Hill, current Chairman, remaining as a Non-Executive Director.

The deal was supported by professionals from consultancy AlixPartners. The AlixPartners M&A team was led by Partner Paul Hemming and Director Craig Rachel. They helped Pho secure its investment from TriSpan, while advising Pho on the deal process. The engagement continues a long-standing partnership between the firms, with AlixPartners having previously advised Pho on the raising of investment from Gresham House in 2012.