Partners Group, a Swiss-based global private markets investment manager, has acquired a substantial minority stake in Green Tea Restaurant, a Chinese casual dining restaurant chain, on behalf of its clients.
Green Tea’s founders continue to hold the remainder of the equity.
The business was founded in 2008 with the opening of a single restaurant in Hangzhou and has grown to become one of the best-known casual dining brands in China, with 78 wholly-owned restaurants in 19 cities, mainly in shopping malls.
Green Tea, the company's main brand, serves Chinese fusion cuisine in a traditional dining environment, while Play King, which was launched in 2016, serves a more casual Western menu in a modern setting.
The business employs over 4,500 people and serves around 15 million customers a year.
The investment from Partners Group will be used to support the opening of new outlets of both brands in China as well as enhancing the business’s marketing strategy.
Qinsong Wang and Changmei Lu, the co-founders of Green Tea Restaurant, said: "Since its inception, Green Tea Restaurant has operated as a family business and we are extremely proud of the rapid growth it has achieved. To keep pace with this growth, we recognize the need to further institutionalise our business and are very pleased to be welcoming Partners Group as a partner into our business."
Following the transaction, Tim Pihl Johannessen, a managing director in Partners Group's Industry Value Creation team, and Sheng Liu, a senior vice president in Partners Group's Private Equity Asia team, will join Green Tea Restaurant’s Board of Directors.
Sheng Liu said: "Green Tea Restaurant is a well-established brand in a resilient sector supported by a highly experienced team. The Company's fast roll-out has been supported by secular trends, such as increasing disposable income and urbanisation, as well as by the growing number of shopping malls in China and the expansion of the casual dining sector, which is seen as offering value-for-money dining experiences. We look forward to working with the founders and their team to further tap into this attractive growth market."