Real Estate Tycoon Jitendra Virwani Buys Hard Rock Café Franchisee

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Multi-Billionaire property developer & real estate magnate, Jitendra Virwani as of latest acquired the Mumbai-based F&B entity – JSM Corp Pvt. Ltd. The acquired company manages as well as operates scores of other brands like Hard Rock Café, Panda Express, Shiro, Asilo, Ginger Tiger, The Big Kahuna, Plus 91, California Pizza Kitchen etc. As per reports, Jitendra Virwani teamed up with Sanjay Mahtani – who happens to be one of the original Founders of JSM Corp to bulk purchase shares owned by Wipro Chairman, Azim Premji’s private equity division – PremjiInvest.

Virwani who is Embassy Group’s Managing Director states, “I have acquired slightly over 60% stake in the company, buying shares from Premji Invest and one of the Co-Founders. I see big opportunity to expand Panda Express (a US-based popular Chinese kitchen with annual revenues grossing $2 Billion) across malls, business parks, college campuses in India. I am not planning anything adventurous on the rest of the businesses.”

Although unresponsive to media queries about the current deal, Premji Invest at the outsets did finance an investing round of about $25 million for an underlying 22% stake five years ago at the stages very beginning with a post-money valuation of around Rs 500 crore. Later, after such arrangements-led refactoring at the company, Premji Invest took enormous hits as “aggressive expansion of super-sized stores” in a hostile environment around fine-dining in F&B space which ended up anything but a service-market fit that now reportedly stands marked down upto one-fourth of the initial market valuation figure.

As a net effect, the current combined stock pooling in the company by Virwani & Mahtani duo surfaces roughly at 95% – with an inclusive holding of 62% of absolute ownership by Virwani given an investment completely at his personal capacity. The rest 5% floating among multiple minority stakeholders is spread across the board. Deal was executed with a close consultation with the help of Co-Founder Jay Singh, who also has ownership stakes as an investor. However according to sources, it’s being viewed as a redemption to salvage a company that was already financially distressed after JSM Corp failed to raise fresh capital rounds raising liabilities in Asian markets that’s already stretching too thin under pricing pressures.

Image Credit: 6iee

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