UK’s second largest bakery chain finds new home with billionaire brothers’ burgeoning foodservice portfolio

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Cooplands has found a new home with the billionaire Issa brother's forecourt and fast food empire, EG Group. Pic: CS Food Group
Cooplands has found a new home with the billionaire Issa brother's forecourt and fast food empire, EG Group. Pic: CS Food Group

Related tags Cooplands Greggs Starbucks Kfc Subway Asda Mergers and acquisitions EG Group

The forecourt and fast food empire owned by Mohsin and Zuber Issa has scooped up Cooplands, adding the UK’s second largest bakery chain to its growing portfolio of brands that includes Greggs, Starbucks, KFC and Subway.

The brother’s EG Group did not disclose the financials behind the acquisition for CS Food Group Holdings Ltd, parent company of Cooplands.

Founded in 1885, Cooplands operates three bakeries that process ingredients and manufacture fresh food-to-go that is distributed through its supply and logistics network to 180 stores and cafes predominantly located across the north-east and Yorkshire regions of the UK. It has a workforce of more than 1,600.

Benefits both parties

The acquisition will accelerate EG Group’s diversification strategy into foodservice, expanding on a portfolio that already includes third-party brands such as Starbucks, KFC and Subway. The Lancashire-headquartered company said it also adds highly complementary assets that will drive development opportunities in other parts of the business.

The deal benefits the Cooplands brand, too, introducing it to the ‘impulse buying’ petrol forecourt and retail convenience store channel, while growing its traditional store format through EG Group’s extensive UK network.

“Cooplands has a proven track record in the fresh bakery sector, and vertical integration with EG Group will help to further drive our success in foodservice, where we continue to see strong growth opportunities in the UK and globally,”​ said Zuber and Mohsin Issa, founders and co-chief executive officers of EG Group.

“Following the acquisition of LEON in May, Cooplands is another fantastic fresh food brand to add to EG Group’s existing portfolio of third-party foodservice brands.”

EG Group acquired the British ‘naturally fast food’ restaurant chain in May 2021.

Growing existing and new customer base

“The transaction will broaden the reach of Cooplands beyond the brand’s northern heartlands and bring its much-loved food to more existing and new customers through EG Group’s unparalleled network of roadside forecourts and retail convenience stores. We know that Cooplands’ impressive bakery platform and our food service expertise will be a winning combination.”

Belinda Youngs, CEO of Cooplands, said the UK bakery is looking forward to a great future.

“Cooplands is proud to be joining EG Group and bringing our long history of skills and expertise in the bakery industry in both manufacturing and retail to the company,”​ said Youngs.

EG Group is a global independent convenience retailer with a diversified portfolio of more than 6,000 sites across 10 countries in North America, Europe and Australia, and a 44,000-strong workforce.

In 2017, it bought 77 Little Chef roadside restaurants. Last year, it snapped up 146 KFC branches in the UK and Ireland and is now in a good position to buy coffee chain Caffe Nero after buying up the struggling coffee chain’s debts in April. EG bought UK supermarket giant Asda,​ alongside investment firm TDR, for £6.8bn in October 2020.

The media has recently reported the billionaire owners are purportedly talking to advisers about offloading their empire, either as a sale or a stock market flotation. The company is valued at around £10.8bn.

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