Mayfair Equity Partners’ YO! Sushi acquires Bento Sushi

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By Ted Liu

YO! Sushi, a portfolio company of Mayfair Equity Partners, has acquired Markham, Ontario based Bento Sushi from Ken Valvur, Bento’s Executive Chairman, and Glenn Brown, President & CEO of Bento. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Valvur and Brown will join the Board of YO! and become significant shareholders in the combined group.

Bento had planned to raise up to $80 million in an initial public offering (IP)), consisting $20 million in treasure offering and $60 million in secondary offering. Bento withdrew its offering on August 31, 2017.

Founded in 1997, London UK based YO! Sushi has 97 restaurants worldwide; 81 owned and 16 franchised. YO! Sushi was acquired by Mayfair Equity Partners in November 2015.

Founded in 1996 Bento is the second largest sushi brand in North America, and the largest in Canada trading from over 600 locations, whilst supplying sushi to a further 1700 partner sites.

With YO!’s international restaurant network across Europe, the Middle East and Australia, the combined business becomes one of the largest sushi companies outside Japan, providing an international, multi-brand, multi-channel offering, well placed to benefit from the continuing increase in consumer interest in healthy, provenance-rich foods.

Robin Rowland, Chief Executive Officer of YO!, commented: “We’ve successfully reinvigorated the business over the last two years to ensure the foundations are in place for long term growth. This acquisition takes YO! into the next stage of its development, and creates the first global multi-channel Japanese food purveyor. Bento’s proposition and its management team’s strong track record make it the ideal partner for YO! as we look to further grow our brand.”

Glenn Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Bento Sushi, stated: “This partnership presents Bento with an incredible opportunity to grow its platform. YO! and Bento share a similar ethos and history, and we look forward to working with the YO! team and taking advantage of opportunities to develop both brands.”

Ken Valvur, Chairman of Bento Sushi, added: “The combination of YO! and Bento will further enhance our group’s ability to be the partner of choice for grocery and institutional food service providers throughout our enlarged operating geography, and creates exciting opportunities for our valued team members on both sides of the Atlantic.”

photo credit: Bento Sushi