Economy Are troubled restaurants targeted by investment funds?

Are troubled restaurants targeted by investment funds?

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Graffiti in a street in Paris, February 20, 2021 (illustration). – CHINA NEW / SIPA

  • Closed for months due to health restrictions against Covid-19, many restaurants are facing a complicated financial situation, despite emergency measures adopted by the state.
  • According to an Internet user, a restaurant owner in difficulty would have been offered the takeover of his establishment by a particularly opportunistic “investment fund” in this period of crisis.
  • If the letter in question is authentic, it is part of a usual canvassing procedure of a company publishing announcements of sales of business assets, unrelated to the Covid-19 crisis.

While it is still unknown on what date restaurants and bars will be able to reopen during this period of anti-Covid-19 restrictions, on Facebook, an Internet user is alarmed at the interest considered cynical of an “investment fund” for the business of one of his relatives.

“This is what a restaurateur friend from the Côte d’Azur sends me, I can reassure you right away, his restaurant is not for sale, but yes, of course, he is in difficulty. But he will not sell it, here are all these investment funds which are there to buy everything through the misery of all these little ones – and I am specifying very small businesses – which are already in an impossible shit. It is a total shame what is happening in our country, ”he denounces.

Mail relayed on Facebook
Mail relayed on Facebook – screenshot / Facebook

In the attached letter, signed by the group “Pic International, specialist in the transfer of businesses and businesses”, we can read: “Sir, we are pleased to inform you that one of our clients may be interested in acquisition of a business similar to yours [de restauration traditionnelle]. […] If our offer interests you, […] We can thus arrange a meeting with one of our project managers, without obligation and in absolute discretion, in order to discuss your project. “

FAKE OFF

Contacted by 20 Minutes, the company Pic International tells us that it “has nothing to do with an investment fund”. “We deal with the sale of business assets, in particular through a classified ads site,” she explains.

“The recipient of this message must have been part of one of our usual direct mailings asking him if he was a seller, to see if our customers who are looking to take over restaurants find a taker. As offers may be lacking in certain regions or in certain sectors, we are carrying out specific targeting, ”continues the company, which recalls that it has been doing this for nearly fifty years – and that this canvassing therefore has no connection with the current health crisis.

“A common approach to feed a commercial ad site”

“This is a search for potential sellers, which is not malicious: we also sometimes canvass business leaders who have not expressed an intention to sell their establishment because they might be interested . It is a common approach, with a view to supplying their site with commercial advertisements, ”abounds with 20 Minutes the Transenterprise site, which centralizes all announcements of business transfers and is therefore in direct contact with the chambers of commerce and chambers of trade in France.

In April 2020, during the first confinement, some Internet users had already been moved by the alleged increase in the number of business divestitures in the catering sector, thanks to an alarmist tweet on the subject. But as had then indicated to 20 Minutes Trans entreprise, the catering-hotel sector did not experience any particular increase in business disposals, while noting: “Generally, a disposal project is not decided overnight. , it is reflected. It’s a little early today but it could change in the coming months ”

Ten months later, Transenterprise indicates to have “rather observed a decrease in the number of disposal projects or at least a postponement”. “To sell a business, you have to be able to prove its profitability through its turnover, which is necessarily based on an activity, so managers have every interest in waiting for the takeover to get a more attractive price. On the other hand, we risk seeing more restaurants in difficulty when there will be no more financial aid, ”the site explains.

For several months, many establishments have been clamoring to finally be able to welcome their customers – a request that received the support of 65 senators last weekend, while Emmanuel Macron had indicated, in mid-January, without further clarification, that restaurants will reopen “as soon as possible”.

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