Spanish group buys majority stake in Apache Pizza for €10.7m

Irish franchise holder for Burger King takes minority share, as Apache plans UK expansion

The Apache Pizza outlet on Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Robert Pendleton, who co-founded Apache in 1996 along with his wife Emily Gore Grimes,  will stay on as managing director of the group. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The Apache Pizza outlet on Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Robert Pendleton, who co-founded Apache in 1996 along with his wife Emily Gore Grimes, will stay on as managing director of the group. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Dublin-headquartered Apache Pizza, the largest such chain in the Irish market, has been bought out by a joint venture between a Spanish company and the Irish franchise holder for Burger King.

Telepizza, a Spanish-listed company, has teamed up with OKR, run by the O’Leary family, who have held the Burger King franchise for more than three decades, to acquire the pizza business.

Telepizza told its investors this week it is paying up to €10.7 million for majority control of Apache, with OKR picking up the remaining minority stake. The price includes €4 million of earnout payments for Apache’s founders.

Robert Pendleton, who co-founded Apache in 1996 along with his wife Emily Gore Grimes, confirmed on Thursday that he will stay on as managing director of the group.

Mr Pendleton and his wife owned 70 per cent, while the balance was controlled by their partners, Niall Doonan and Paul Doonan.

In a presentation to Telepizza investors, the Spanish company said Apache had recorded earnings of €1.4 million in the year to the end of June 2017.

The deal marks the entry into Ireland of Telepizza, which has 1,400 outlets globally. The Apache deal gives it control of a network of more than 160 outlets in Ireland, north and south. All but two of Apache’s outlets are franchises.

Main rival

Its main rival Domino’s has about 50 stores in Ireland, but wants to increase this to 75 here in the coming years. Papa John’s, the franchise owned here by Supermac’s founder Pat McDonagh, also has about 50 stores.

Mr Pendleton said last night that Apache has nine more franchised stores in the pipeline that he expects will be open by the end of the summer. The network employs more than 2,300 staff.

“We see the potential for another 35 to 50 Apache outlets in Ireland, north and south,” he said.

In addition, Mr Pendleton anticipates bringing the Apache brand into Scotland and Wales, either later this year or early in 2019.

He “didn’t look to go out selling the business” but was introduced to Telepizza, and it bought Apache in December following nine months of talks.

Mr Pendleton confirmed that the group would retain the Apache brand, and would not rebrand as Telepizza.

“It will remain as is, with no intention to change,” he explained.

He said Ms Gore Grimes would “take a backseat” in the business, but he and his son, the group IT manager Jordan Pendleton, would continue in their roles.

Based in Madrid, Telepizza this week reported its full-year results, with sales up 8.6 per cent to €561 million.