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Justin King Backs £50m Fund to Invest in Hospitality Firms

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A consortium of high-net-worth individuals, spearheaded by Justin King, former chief executive of J Sainsbury, has raised £50 million to pursue acquisitions within the premium restaurant sector.

Named Hestia Hospitality, after the Greek goddess symbolising home and hospitality, the consortium aims to target £100 million in revenues within three years. Andrew Fishwick, CEO of the Salt marketing agency and a restaurateur, serves as the majority shareholder of Hestia, alongside King. Fishwick expressed optimism about their venture, highlighting previous challenges faced in 2021 but indicating a renewed focus and strategic approach in their current endeavour.

Having secured £1 million in seed funding last year, Hestia Hospitality has already completed three acquisitions, including the Native restaurant and a minority stake in All Things Bloom, a specialist coffee brand. Additionally, the consortium is in advanced negotiations to acquire two larger businesses, indicating their commitment to expansion and growth within the sector.

Fishwick emphasised their intention to diversify beyond London, targeting regional and international markets, capitalising on attractive opportunities amidst a shifting economic landscape. Despite challenges in garnering investor interest in the hospitality sector, Fishwick believes that Hestia’s successful fundraising demonstrates a changing tide and growing investor confidence in the premium end of the market.

Backed by private family offices and high-net-worth individuals, Hestia Hospitality aims to identify businesses that have weathered the pandemic and possess strong growth potential. Fishwick underscored the importance of seizing opportunities in an industry experiencing pent-up demand and favourable market conditions.

With a focus on strategic acquisitions and rapid expansion, Hestia Hospitality aims to inject momentum into its growth trajectory. Fishwick expressed enthusiasm for their ambitious plans, envisioning a dynamic future for the consortium as they navigate the evolving landscape of the hospitality sector.