Macken ‘consciously uncouples’ from Jo’Burger partnership

Family regain full control of restaurants as colleague Roberts moves on to other projects

Joe Macken, John Roberts and Kevin Macken:  Roberts declined to reveal how much his former business partner paid him, but said it was an amicable arrangement.

Joe Macken, John Roberts and Kevin Macken: Roberts declined to reveal how much his former business partner paid him, but said it was an amicable arrangement.

 

Dublin restaurateur Joe Macken and his family have regained full control of their Jo’Burger group of six trendy Dublin restaurants, after buying out the majority share that was held by business partner John Roberts.

Mr Roberts, who helped rescue the Jo’Burger group from examinership in 2009, sold his near 60 per cent stake to a company controlled by Mr Macken in recent weeks. He declined to reveal how much his former partner paid him, but said it was an amicable arrangement.

The deal includes three Jo’Burger outlets in Rathmines, Smithfield and the city centre, as well as three other Dublin venues: Crackbird, Bear and Skinflint. The group employs about 100 staff.

Mr Macken used a group company, Fennell Willis, to buy the stake held by Mr Roberts and his company, Bundaprise. As part of the arrangement, Jo’Burger has guaranteed payments to Mr Roberts, and given him a charge over the city centre property.

The deal gives full ownership of the group to Joe Macken and his parents, Kevin and Vonie Macken, via their company Vonkev.

Documents filed with the Companies Registration office suggest the deal was finalised about two weeks ago. The filings state the handover of control will “guarantee future stability” and allow Jo’Burger to “pursue strategic growth”.

Mr Macken joked that the deal was an “conscious uncoupling” of his business arrangement with Mr Roberts, a nod to the infamous phrase used by actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Chris Martin to describe their divorce.

He said he will focus on growing business at the six restaurants over the next 12 months by broadening the offering and extending opening hours. After a year, he may seek to expand the group’s footprint.

“The city is growing and we may look at entering the new parts,” he said.

Mr Roberts said he sold because he received a “good offer” from Mr Macken. Bundaprise valued its Jo’Burger investment on its books at €135,000 just over a year ago, but he said the actual consideration paid was a “private matter”.

“The business is all set up to thrive,” he said.

The most recent filed abridged accounts for the group, for 2015, show losses widened slightly to an accumulated €140,000. The four directors, however, took payments of about €640,000 from the group over the year.

Mr Roberts said he plans to concentrate on other business and consultancy projects, following his exit from Jo’Burger.