Abrakebabra group buys O'Briens

Thu, Oct 15, 2009, 01:00

Abrakebabra Investments Limited has bought the O’Briens Irish Sandwich Bar brand, a week after the troubled company went into liquidation.

The firm went into examinership in July, which gave it High Court protection from creditors and some time to formulate a rescue plan.

AIL, which is backed by businessmen Graeme Beere and Denis Desmond, had made a previous offer to buy O'Brien's as part of a rescue plan for the franchise business. However, its offer depended on altering arrangements made regarding the leasing of premises for O'Brien's outlets.

Under the deal, O'Brien's leased the outlets for its sandwich bars and sublet them to the franchisees, meaning O'Brien's paid the rents on the premises to the landlords before charging its franschisees.

The rescue bid failed after the High Court refused to repudiate leases which the company held over its franchised outlets, and the company was put into liquidation last week.

The chain employed more than 450 people.

AIL announced today it had taken a master franchise for the Republic of Ireland from the liquidator, Paul McCann of Grant Thornton. The company also controls Abrakebabra, the Bagel Factory and Gourmet Burger Kitchen outlets in Ireland. 

“We have over 25 years of experience in the franchise sector and we are looking forward to working with franchisees, new and old, to ensure that in these testing retail times they feel renewed confidence in the brand, a brand that we believe strongly in,” said Mr Beere.

O'Brien's also has outlets in Northern Ireland and Britain.