TowerBrook Capital Partners, the parent company of Azzurri Group, is in talks to divest the business in 2023, according to a Sky News report.

Based in the UK, Azzurri Group operates restaurant brands Ask, Zizzi and Coco di Mama.

TowerBrook is in talks with investment bankers to launch an auction next year.

London-based financial institution Rothschild is one of the most likely contenders to handle the process.

As one of Britain’s biggest casual dining operators, Azzurri operates almost 220 sites across the country, employing thousands of people.

In July 2020, TowerBrook acquired Azzurri Group through a pre-pack administration process.

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By GlobalData

The deal allowed Azzurri Group to restructure its balance sheet and its operations to support future success.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Azzurri operated 301 restaurants across its three brands in the Italian casual dining sector and the London food-to-go market.

All three brands delivered like-for-like revenue and profit.

Azzurri then encountered unprecedented levels of disruption during the pandemic, which led to the closure of all its restaurants ahead of the government’s lockdown.

The deal with TowerBrook helped Azzurri secure the future of 225 restaurants while protecting 5,000 employees.

Azzurri Group CEO Steve Holmes stated at the time: “The Covid-19 crisis has had a profound impact on the casual dining sector, bringing many businesses like ours to a standstill.

“Despite being a successful operator, the immediate loss of revenue during the lockdown meant that we had to make some incredibly difficult decisions to protect the business for the long term.”

In June 2023, Azzurri Group acquired a controlling interest in Mexican-themed fast food restaurant chain Boojum.

The proportion of the stake and financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.