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Analjit Singh-led firm buys 51% in restaurant chain Riga Foods

Billionaire Analjit Singh-led Piveta Estates has acquired a 51% stake in Riga Foods, which operates a chain of Italian-cuisine restaurants in Delhi-NCR, for an undisclosed amount.

While Piveta has bought a majority stake, Riga's founders will retain management control, The Economic Times reported, citing Singh and the restaurant chain. 

Delhi-based Piveta provides services such as facilities management, brokerage and lease management.

Riga will use the funds mainly for expanding its operations. Besides domestic expansion, the firm is eyeing a foray into international markets such as South Africa and the UK.

Email queries to Piveta and Riga Foods didn’t elicit any immediate response.

Riga Foods was founded by celebrity chef Ritu Dalmia and Gita Bhalla in 2000. It also runs a catering service under the brand name Diva.

Singh is also the founder of the Delhi-based diversified Max Group, which earlier this year underwent a major organisational restructuring that saw the firm being split into three separate listed companies housing different businesses--life insurance, health and allied businesses and manufacturing.

Restaurant deals

There have been a handful of deals involving restaurant chains over the years. Recently, Jayaram Banan, founder of popular South Indian restaurant chain Sagar Ratna, bought back the stakeheld by the company’s majority stakeholder India Equity Partners.

Homegrown private equity firm Aditya Birla PE, which had invested in Olive Bar & Kitchen Pvt. Ltd in 2012, has received interest from investors for its stake in the Mumbai-based hospitality firm.

The number of private equity deals in the restaurant space slid in the first eight months of 2016 after hitting a peak in 2015. A total of nine deals were struck in the January-August period of this year against 21 last year, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle.

Still, investors say this indicates stable dealmaking environment after a one-off year. Dealmaking this year matches the volume of transactions announced annually in the three years before 2015 when private equity investors made a splash to tap into the Indian consumers' increasing tendency to eat out.

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