PizzaExpress owner weighs up rival bid for The Restaurant Group

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PizzaExpress owner weighs up rival bid for The Restaurant Group

Related tags The restaurant group Wagamama Restaurant Multi-site Casual dining PizzaExpress Finance Apollo Group

The owner of PizzaExpress could throw its hat into the ring to buy The Restaurant Group (TRG).

The Wagamama owner has revealed that an approach for the business has been made by Wheel Topco, the owner of PizzaExpress, which could signal a bidding war for the restaurant group.

As of yet no written or verbal proposals relating to a possible offer have been tabled by Wheel Topco, according to TRG.

“There can be no certainty that an offer by Wheel Topco will be made for the Company, nor as to the terms on which an offer might be made,” says TRG.

“Accordingly, shareholders are advised to take no action at this time with regard to the information request received from Wheel Topco.

“If any proposal is provided by Wheel Topco, the Board of TRG will carefully consider its terms, in conjunction with its advisers.”

Earlier this month a deal was struck between TRG and private equity house Apollo Funds​ to purchase the business in a deal that valued each of the company’s shares at 65p. The acquisition gave an enterprise value of £701m for the business and a multiple of around nine times TRG’s adjusted EBITDA for the 12 months ended 2 July 2023.

The proposed deal had been described by some investors as undervaluing the business, in one case by up to £100m, leading to speculation that more bids might be tabled for TRG in the near future.

Allan Leighton, the chairman of PizzaExpress, has a history with Wagamama. Leighton previously chaired the restaurant chain and played a part in its sale to TRG in 2018.

In June this year PizzaExpress said its debt levels had significantly improved and were half of what they were under its previous owner Hony Capital.

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