Yo! Sushi merges with US rival

Sushi conveyor belt chain acquires majority stake in SnowFox to expand in the US.

Facilitated by Mayfair Equity Partners, the firm will acquire US brand SnowFox to add to a portfolio that also includes Bento Sushi and Taiko Foods.

Both will report to Yo Sushi’s Richard Hodgson, the firm’s chairman Jim Kim will serve on the board of the four-concept restaurant group, while president Stacy Kwon will become co-president for US operations.

The Telegraph reports the deal cost around USD 100 million after valuing the company at around USD 400 million. The addition of SnowFox will create a new food group that’ll bring in GBP337m in sales, two-thirds of which is generated in the US market.

Before the merger, the firm operated 845 full-service sushi bars, predominantly in US supermarkets, as well as wholesale, university and corporate settings.

Yo! Sushi has since said it aims to continue these operations under the brand, while expanding into Waitrose and Tesco as well as growing its foodservice offerings.

YO! Sushi CEO Richard Hodgson said: “We are delighted to be partnering with SnowFox given its high brand penetration, recognised product and service quality, as well as excellent industry relationships.

“Building on from the successful integration of Bento Sushi starting in 2017, YO! will look to replicate this approach with SnowFox as it continues to execute its diversification strategy.

“By expanding its geographical presence and offering, the expanded group will meet the untapped demand of consumers around the world. Jim, Stacy and their teams exemplify the talent we wish to work with and we are incredibly honoured that we are partnering with them.

Simon Woodroffe OBE opened YO! Sushi in Poland Street, Soho, on January 22nd 1997 with his life savings of GBP 200,000. Mark Norton, the only person other than Andy Warhol to have designed two Rolling Stones album covers, designed the YO! logo.

Cooke Aquaculture Scotland is YO!’s UK supplier.