Philippines-based Jollibee Foods is reportedly running the numbers to buy gourmet sandwich and coffee chain Pret-A-Manger.
Sources have told Reuters news agency that the Pret-A-Manger bid would value the business at in excess of US$1 billion, and close to the $1.1 billion it achieved in sales last year.
While at first glance the Filipino food concept – which has low-cost burgers, chicken pieces and fries as its staple menu – seems an unlikely bedfellow for the London-based sandwich concept which targets office workers, Pret-A-Manger’s previous owners have included US fast-food giant McDonald’s.
Quoting “sources familiar with the matter”, Reuters said Jollibee has been holding in-camera talks with an advisor over a bid for Pret-A-Manger, affectionately known by its customers as ‘Pret’.
Jollibee Foods, founded by entrepreneur Tan Caktiong in 1975, recently opened its 1000th Jollibee restaurant in the Philippines and has 2700 stores in all, including in Hong Kong, China, Vietnam and the US. The company is valued at $5.2 billion and its portfolio also includes joint ventures owning Highlands Coffee and Pho 24 (in Vietnam), Smashburger (the US), Chowking (China) and Burger King (Philippines). Its domestic brands include Greenwich, Mang Inasal, Chowking and Red Ribbon.
Pret has about 400 stores worldwide, including a small network in Hong Kong, selling breakfasts, hot beverages, cakes, its own snack foods and its core sandwich offer.
The company is owned by private equity company Bridgepoint, which earlier this year was reportedly mulling a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.