Avoca deal, if agreed, could take ‘months’ to complete

Family owned business in talks with ‘a lot of people’ according to Simon Pratt

The  Avoca shop and cafe on Suffolk Street in Dublin 2. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The Avoca shop and cafe on Suffolk Street in Dublin 2. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Simon Pratt, managing director of the Avoca luxury goods retailer and restaurant chain, says it will be “a couple of months” before a decision is taken on a potential sale of the business.

Avoca, which operates from about 11 locations on the island, is in talks with several parties about a possible deal, Mr Pratt confirmed. He declined to discuss the names of any of the interested parties, although the US-owned foodservice giant, Aramark, is known to be prominent among the front runners.

Meetings

It is understood that senior directors of Aramark scheduled meetings this week with members of the Pratt family who own Avoca, although Simon Pratt declined to confirm this. Aramark also declined to comment.

“We are not in exclusive talks with anyone,” said Mr Pratt. “The situation is that we have had a lot of interest from outside parties. We are having conversations with a lot of people.” Referring to a potential deal for the business, Mr Pratt said: “If it happens, it will be a couple of months away.”

Interest was sparked in the group, which began as a textiles outlet in Co Wicklow but now turns over about €57 million, after Mr Pratt gave an interview late last year in which he said it wouldn’t pass to the next generation of Pratts.

“Almost inevitable conflict”

“It would be almost inevitable that there would be conflict, and the idea that my kids could end up not speaking to my sister’s kids is just appalling,” he said at the time.

Avoca is owned by Pratt siblings, Simon, Amanda, Ivan and Vanessa, and their parents, and was founded by their father, Donald, in the 1970s.

Amanda Pratt, who ran the fashion side of the group, recently left Avoca and has been lined up to advise on a revamp of Bewley’s, Grafton Street.