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Pret gobbles EAT to expand vegetarian, vegan offerings

Pret a Manger found a 'savvy' way of going veggie (AFP Photo/SPENCER PLATT)

London (AFP) - British coffee and sandwich chain Pret a Manger on Wednesday said it had agreed to buy smaller rival EAT, tapping into growing UK popularity of vegetarian and vegan food.

Pret, owned by investment giant JAB Holdings, is buying EAT for an undisclosed sum from private equity firm Horizon Capital, a statement said.

The 94 EAT branches, most of which are in London, will largely be converted to 'Veggie' Pret stores, it added.

"Pret A Manger’s acquisition of EAT is a savvy strategic move, allowing them to quickly tap in to a market that shows no sign of slowing down, while simultaneously" removing a rival, said takeover specialist Cavendish Corporate Finance.

Veggie Pret launched in 2016, with currently four locations in London and the English northwest city Manchester.

Pret has more than 500 branches in nine countries around the world, including 237 in London.

"In response to growing consumer demand for more vegetarian and vegan options on the high street, Pret plans to convert as many of EAT's shops as possible to 'Veggie Prets'," the statement said.

"This acquisition is expected to significantly accelerate the growth of this brand."