World famous fish and chip shop Harry Ramsden’s has been sold to rival fish and chip business Deep Blue Restaurants.

Deep Blue Restaurants came to an agreement with Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG), owner of the restaurant brand, to take over the 34 restaurants in a debt-free deal.

The sale comes after the Yorkshire business has seen a period of slow decline, due to the casual dining sector continuing to battle rising costs and falling footfall. As part of the move the BRG has said it will retain an interest in the enlarged business.

Deep Blue founder and chief executive officer James Low said: “We are delighted with this transaction which has accelerated our growth, making us the largest player in the market by a considerable margin.

“Our immediate focus will be on the integration of the business into the Deep Blue organisation. Our amalgamation with Harry Ramsden’s is a key milestone in our development but we remain committed to exploiting the unparalleled opportunities within the sector for further expansion.”

Boparan Restaurant Group chief executive officer Tom Crowley said: “This is an important strategic move for BRG and one which enables us to simplify our future business and allow us to focus on the opportunities for our core brands of Giraffe, Ed’s Easy Diner, Fishworks and the roll out of Slim Chickens, whilst still retaining an ongoing interest in the fish and chip sector.”

The deal will see BRG, which also owns chains Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner, leave the business after more than nine years.

Earlier in the year, BRG announced the closure of a third of UK restaurants, a move that saw six Ed’s Diner restaurant and 21 Giraffe restaurant closures as part of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).