Better Burger Society: acquires Swiss «Holy Cow!» chain

Helsinki / FI. (int / noho) Intera Partners Oy (Helsinki) and the leading restaurant operator in Northern Europe, NoHo Partners PLC (Tampere), have established «Better Burger Society» (BBS), a company targeting a leading position in the growing premium burger market in Europe. As part of the transaction, NoHo Partners will transfer its holdings of «Friends + Brgrs» (F+B) shares to the newly established entity.

In addition to the EUR 20.8 million base valuation of the full share capital of «Friends + Brgrs», the parties have agreed on a contingent consideration acquisition price of maximum EUR 15 million concerning «Friends + Brgrs», which is conditional to the Ebitda development of «Friends + Brgrs» in 2023. Approximately 53 percent of «Better Burger Society» is owned by NoHo Partners, approximately 40 percent by Intera Partners’ and approximately 7 percent by the executive management and the founding partners. Concurrently, Intera will inject new capital into the company, facilitating the acquisition of a controlling interest in «Holy Cow!», a distinguished Swiss-based company specializing in premium hamburgers.

Intera partner Tomi Terho: «Better Burger Society» has been established as the parent company encompassing leading premium burger chains across Europe. The company’s strategy is to accelerate the growth of the restaurant concepts it owns and develop their operations by supporting local entrepreneurs and teams behind the concepts. Both Intera and NoHo acknowledge the substantial benefits associated with consolidating similar concepts within one company. Such benefits include, for example, the unification of operating models, the sharing of best practices, and certain advantages of scale and synergy. In addition to the strong organic growth of local brands, the plan is to accelerate growth with selected acquisitions that support the strategy in new operating countries. The «Better Burger Society» is also in a good position for promoting the principles of sustainable development in its companies as part of its core business.

«We are excited about the cooperation with NoHo and the acquired companies. «Better Burger Society» wants to be the market leader in its target markets and to form a community for the most ambitious entrepreneurs in the industry. We believe that through the expertise that will be concentrated in the new company we will be in a good position for building a significant international player,» adds Tomi Terho.

NoHo Partners CEO Aku Vikström: «We are looking forward to building «Better Burger Society» together with Intera Partners. Based on our extensive research of the European restaurant market in the past years, we have found that local brand, high quality, and fresh ingredients are clear competitive advantages in a market that has been tough to enter for multinational brands. Our «Friends + Brgrs» acquisition in 2020 has confirmed this to be true also in Finland. We believe that by focusing our know-how on scalable brand business in one separate company, we can more efficiently expand our premium burger business into the large European markets.»

The Swiss hamburger market is a developing market of about one billion EUR in value and roughly one and a half times the size of the Finnish burger market. «Holy Cow!» has an established leading position in the rapidly growing Swiss premium burger segment. The reastaurant chain has 16 units and the intention to open several new units during the coming 12 months.

Vikström: «According to our assessment of the European burger market, Switzerland is particularly interesting because of the consumer’s purchasing power and the future growth potential. «Holy Cow!» is, like «Friends + Brgrs», the biggest and most well-known brand in the market in its own segment. In addition, the Swiss Guy Bardet and Adrian Stadelmann, who continue as partners as part of the transaction, bring invaluable knowledge of the local market. We estimate the growth potential to be very attractive and actively evaluate next potential acquisition targets where strong local brand and size enable scaling up the business. «BBS» is an excellent platform for consolidating better burgers in Europe.»

Tuomas Piirtola, M.Sc. (Econ.), has been appointed Managing Director of «Better Burger Society». Piirtola has previously been Director of the fast-food business at NoHo Partners. In his role, Piirtola reports to the Board of Directors of «BBS», chaired by NoHo Partners’ CEO Aku Vikström.

Better Burger Society’s first restaurant concepts

«BBS»’s first restaurant concepts are Finnish company «Friends + Brgrs» and Swiss company «Holy Cow!». Both companies are leading providers of premium hamburgers in their respective markets and very similar in concept. «F+B» is Finland’s number one premium hamburger chain with 26 restaurants. The company’s turnover was 21 million EUR in 2022. «Holy Cow!» is Switzerland’s number one premium hamburger chain with 16 units. The company’s turnover is estimated to be around 40 million EUR in 2023. As part of the transaction, the operational management of both will continue in their current roles and all owners involved in the day-to-day operations of the companies will continue as shareholders of the new company. «F+B» and «Holy Cow!» will continue to operate with their existing strong local brands.

Peter Fagerholm, partner and one of the founders of «Friends + Brgrs»: «The founders are happy that «F+B» will join the «Better Burger Society», which has a strong knowledge of burgers and a clear vision for the future. Our concept is successful, and we see that together with «BBS», the conditions for our company’s growth will improve even further. There are many areas where we see opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other. The collective wealth of expertise in restaurant operations possessed by all owners establishes a good basis for the future development.»

The transaction is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2023, subject to approval from the Finnish competition authority.

  • Intera Partners Oy, based in Helsinki, is a Finnish private equity company with a focus on growth and internationalisation. Intera manages three active funds with a total capital of 785 million Euro. The funds are invested in a total of 12 portfolio companies with approximately 13,000 employees and a combined revenues of 1.1 billion Euro.
  • NoHo Partners PLC, based in Tampere, is a Finnish conglomerate specializing in restaurant industry services, founded in 1996. In 2013, it became the first Finnish restaurant operator to be listed on Nasdaq Helsinki as a publicly traded company. Throughout its history, the company has experienced strong growth. The conglomerate operates around 250 restaurants in Finland, Denmark, and Norway. Some of its well-known restaurant concepts include Elite, Savoy, Teatteri, Sea Horse, Stefan’s Steakhouse, Palace, Löyly, Hanko Aasia, «Friends + Brgrs», Campingen, and «Cock’s + Cows». Depending on the season, the conglomerate employs approximately 2,300 individuals in full-time equivalents. The company aims to achieve a turnover of 400 million Euro by the end of 2024. Its vision is to become the leading restaurant company in Northern Europe.
  • «Friends + Brgrs» AB Oy is Finland’s leading premium hamburger chain, founded in 2014 in Pietarsaari respective Jakobstad. Today the company counts 26 restaurant units and the company’s turnover was 21 million Euros in 2022.
  • «Holy Cow!» is Switzerland’s leading premium hamburger chain founded in 2009. Today the company, headquartered in Lausanne, canton Vaud, counts 16 restaurant units and the company’s turnover is estimated to be around 40 million Euro in 2023.