Brake Brothers, one of the UK’s biggest restaurant suppliers, may be bought by South African service and investment group Bidvest. Bidvest has made a formal submission to the UK Office of Fair Trading, asking for approval of a possible merger or acquisition.
Bidvest already operates a food service business in the UK, as well as in Australia and South Africa, so any merger between the two rivals is likely to be subject to an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading. Bidvest hopes to be able to use the strength of the combined UK operations to expand further into Europe. The company has already acquired some smaller rivals, such as Jacobs Holdings.
Brake Brothers put itself up for sale last month following a decision by chairman and founder Frank Brake to retire, aged 68. Its 2001 profit was down 19% to GBP20.9 million due to reorganization costs, foot-and-mouth and a post-September 11 decline in travel. The company is currently valued at just under GBP400 million.