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General Atlantic is set to raise its stake in a barbecue restaurant chain to take control of the Indian firm that it first backed nearly six years ago, two people aware of the development said.

The US private equity firm, a backer of homegrown unicorns such as Unacademy, Byju’s, and Acko, is likely to invest at least 125-150 crore to buy an additional stake in Absolute Barbeques Pvt. Ltd, the people said, asking not to be named.

The quantum of stake General Atlantic currently holds in Absolute Barbeques and the additional stake it is looking to buy couldn’t

be ascertained immediately. It also couldn’t be ascertained if the deal would involve a secondary share purchase, either partly or fully.

Founded in 2013 by former Barbeque Nation CEO Prosenjit Roy Choudhury, the company runs over 60 outlets under the Absolute Barbe- cues brand in 23 Indian cities.

The company received its first investment of $10 million from General Atlantic in November 2017, which gave the PE firm a 17.4% stake. Nearly two years later, General Atlan- tic made a follow-on investment of 100 crores into Absolute Barbeques, boosting its shareholding to 40%.

Email queries sent to General Atlantic and Absolute Barbeques didn’t elicit a response till press time.

Choudhury had started his career with Sayaji Hotels as a management trainee in 1995. He worked in various verticals over the years and took over as the general manager of Sayaji Hotels in 2003. He joined Barbeque

Nation in 2006 and left the casual dining restaurant chain in 2013.

Absolute Barbeques has recovered well from the turmoil caused by cov- id-19 that impacted the restaurant industry globally. The company

added 30 outlets in the last two fiscal years. It posted net sales of 1334 crore in FY23, rising from 1211 crore a year earlier.

Deal activity in casual dining space in India has largely remained mild compared to other sectors. Among the handful of deals, last November. Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality Pvt. Ltd, which owns and manages brands like Social, Mocha, and Smoke House Deli, raised 1550 crore from India-focused investment platform India Resurgence Fund (IndiaRF), promoted by Piramal Enterprises Ltd and global private

equity firm Bain Capital.

General Atlantic was reported to be one of the bidders for homegrown private equity firm Everstone Capital’s stake in Restaurant Brands Asia Ltd, the master franchisee of Burger King in India and Indonesia.

General Atlantic has invested nearly $4.6 billion till date in India. The PE firm engages in late-stage venture capital and growth equity transactions in India. Among its latest bets, General Atlan- tic has invested about $550 million so far in Walmart Inc.-owned PhonePeas as part of the digital payments firm’s fundraising exercise. The PE firm was also recently busy on the exit front too. Earlier this month, General Atlantic pared its shareholding in listed hospital chain KIMS Hospitals.



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