Cooks Food Group has taken another step towards becoming the global operator of the Esquires chain of coffee houses.
The NZAX-listed shell company says it has entered conditional sale and purchase agreements to acquire the two master franchises in Britain and Ireland.
The deals follow the acquisition of Franchise Development, owned by Stuart and Lewis Deeks, who have the master franchise rights to Esquires outside Australasia and Canada.
As part of the deal, the Deeks brothers will become the majority shareholders in Cooks, with a stake of more than 50%.
All the transactions will need to be approved by Cooks shareholders at a meeting in early August.
Stuart Deeks says the brand has huge global potential. He says they've just opened a store in Kuwait and have stores planned for Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Mr Deeks says the company is in talks to acquire Esquires in Canada, where it was founded, and is not ruling out trying to buy back the Australasian business.