Salt Bae Backers Seek a Partner and a $1 Billion Valuation

Image courtesy: Instagram/@nusr_et

(Bloomberg) –The owners of the Nusr-Et steakhouse, known by its founder chef’s meme Salt Bae, are considering selling a stake in the business, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

Turkish billionaire Ferit Sahenk, and co-founders Nusret Gokce and Mithat Erdem, may sell a combined stake or an individual holding to one or a group of investors, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. There’s been strong interest from international investors and a financial adviser is assessing potential bids, they said.

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The valuation of Nusr-Et as a standalone enterprise could reach $1 billion or more, according to two of the people familiar with the sales discussions. The company had earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of about $70 million this year, according to the people.

Founded in 2010 in Istanbul by Turkish butcher Gokce, Nusr-Et also operates steakhouses and burger joints in New York, Miami, Dubai and on the Greek island of Mykonos. Gokce and Erdem hold a combined 49% in the restaurant chain, while Sahenk’s D.ream Group, or Dogus Restaurants Entertainment & Management, holds the rest, the people said.

Dogus Gayrimenkul Yatirim Ortakligi AS, a real estate developer owned by Dogus Holding, surged as much as 19% to 3.51 liras in Istanbul, the highest since January 2018.

Dogus struggled to repay foreign-exchange loans after the lira plunged in value. The group restructured around $2.5 billion of debt in December and has been selling stakes in hotels and restaurants as part of the renegotiated agreement. It could dispose of investments worth as much as 800 million euros ($882 million), Sahenk said in an interview in August.

Representatives for Gokce, Erdem and Dogus Holding all declined to comment.

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Dogus Holding was considering spinning off some of his D.ream restaurant business in a potential initial public offering in London, Bloomberg News has reported. D.ream also has the franchise of Japanese restaurant Zuma, Coya and El Paraguas brands.

Dogus Holding sold 17% of D.ream International BV to Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek and London-based private equity firm Metric Capital Partners for $200 million in 2018.

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