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A former barrister who became a television chef and restaurateur has cooked up a multimillion-pound fortune with the sale of a stake in Mowgli Street Food, her Indian casual dining chain, to private equity.
Nisha Katona, 51, founder and chief executive of Mowgli, is selling a significant stake to TriSpan with debt finance from OakNorth Bank in a deal believed to value the firm at £25 million to £30 million. Foresight Group is selling its 24 per cent stake.
Katona opened her first Mowgli in Liverpool in 2014 and has since expanded to 15 sites in cities including London, Birmingham and Manchester. She realised while she was running cookery classes that there would be strong demand for authentic Indian cooking. She also pioneered the use of social media to build interest among potential customers and extended the chain’s exposure as a celebrity chef, appearing on MasterChef, Cooking with the Stars and The Great British Menu. The Mowgli Trust has raised £1.2 million for local and global charities.
The group has confirmed plans to open in Brighton, Bristol and Edinburgh this year and is “reviewing other expansion opportunities”.
TriSpan’s other restaurant investments include the Rosa’s Thai group, Pho and Thunderbird Fried Chicken. Its operating partners include Robin Rowland, former chief of Yo! Sushi, who will become chairman of Mowgli.
Katona will continue to lead Mowgli as chief executive; Matthew Peck and Lucy Worth, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, respectively, will continue in their present roles.
TriSpan typically invests in firms with revenues of up to $100 million and underlying earnings up to $20 million.