Pub and restaurant chains are circling struggling independent firms and vacant properties, looking to buy up expansion opportunities at a knock-down price as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the leisure and hospitality industry. Merger and acquisition activity in the hospitality industry has already begun, as larger firms plan to reap the rewards when the industry bounces back. Figures from restructuring firm Resolve showed that between September and December last year there were 28 M&A transactions in the sector, a 75% jump on the previous quarter. A number of firms have recently tapped investors for extra cash to invest in expansion, eyeing the cheap property and struggling firms that have emerged due to the devastating impact of the coronavirus on much of the industry. Last year Premier Inn owner Whitbread launched a £1bn rights issue to see it through the rest of the pandemic but also to help it continue its expansion plans after lockdown.
Read more: City AM
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