Graphite Capital to Back Buyout of Hawksmoor Restaurant

Graphite Capital Management LLP, the private-equity owner of London’s Groucho Club, agreed to buy the Hawksmoor chain of steakhouses, a year after acquiring a stake in the Wolseley and Delaunay restaurants.

Hawksmoor’s founders, Will Beckett and Huw Gott, will both stay with the company, the London-based private-equity firm said in a statement today. Graphite will purchase a majority stake in a transaction valuing Hawksmoor at about 40 million pounds ($62 million), said a person with knowledge of the takeover who asked not to be identified because the terms haven’t been made public.

“We were impressed by the young, highly motivated team which has successfully created a popular premium restaurant concept during very difficult economic times,” Markus Golser, a senior partner at Graphite, said in the statement. “Their focus on consistently delivering high quality food and drink to a discerning customer base will underpin future growth.”

Private-equity firms typically pool money from pension plans and endowments with a mandate to buy companies within five to six years, then sell them and return the money and a profit after 10 years. The firms usually charge a management fee of as much as 2 percent and keep 20 percent of the profits from investments.

Graphite oversees a 475 million-pound private-equity fund it raised in 2007. Last year, it acquired a 19 million-pound stake in Chris Corbin and Jeremy King’s Rex Restaurant Associates. A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment on the size of the investment.

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