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Kings of Leon Aiming to be Emperors

Posted on Apr 19, 2021. by NTI

After a fairly dirty attempt to takeover Caffè Nero in November 2020 the Issa brothers (who Tracee is convinced wrote and performed 'Shout' and 'It's Your Thing') have landed their Plan B, and word at the counter is that they are back on Plan A now.

Sometimes you're 'brothers', but at others that is just not enough. The Issas will always be the 'billionaire brothers', in the same way Mike Ashley will always less fondly be known as 'the stoat-faced weasel' Mike Ashley. They have been hard at it ('it' presumably being their plan for retail dominance) and today (Monday 19 April) it is reported that they have purchased Leon for £100 million and are now planning to step up the pace of expansion of the self-styled 'naturally fast food' chain by opening about 20 Leon outlets a year, including several drive-throughs. The founders of Leon, John Vincent (£15 million), Henry Dimbleby (£7.5 million) and Allegra McEvedy (£7.5 million) will be bought out and may regard that as a good return on their investment at a time when it is not a good thing to be owning a casual-dining outlet.

The three founders made Leon a 'player'. It has 71 restaurants, of which 42 are company-owned sites in Britain, with a strong presence in London. It also has 29 franchised sites, mainly in airports and stations in the UK and the Netherlands. It is also one of the nicer options for coffee and a Vegan Sweet Carolina BBQ Burger, and a favourite of Andy's is their roasted spring veg and paprika chicken (although he has never before paid more than two quid for a 'piece of chicken and some lettuce').

Word of Caution: don't go on Leon's website if you are feeling peckish, as they have some very fine and delicious videos thereon and you will seeking sustenance within seconds.

The Blackburn billionaires are now back on the trail of Caffè Nero, following a failed attempt to buy it when the chain lay wounded and panting after its CVA last year. The Daily Telegraph reports that the Issa brothers have bought around £140 million of the coffee chain’s debts from Partners Group via investment bank Morgan Stanley. They just need to wait until the coffee chain defaults on its borrowing, and that should be ... anytime soon. Well, to be fair, it has £145 million of debt due to be paid back next year and that is a lot of coffee and carrot cake.

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