Pizza Express owner eyes takeover of Restaurant Group

Restaurant Group (LSE: RTN) has confirmed its consideration of a potential takeover by the owner of PizzaExpress, Wheel Topco. This revelation comes on the heels of the recent agreement with Apollo Global Management, a New York-based asset manager, to acquire Restaurant Group for a sum exceeding £500 million.

On Wednesday, the news of a potential rival bidder emerged, as Sky News disclosed preliminary deliberations within the restaurant chain regarding the feasibility of a competing offer for Restaurant Group. Apollo’s acquisition vehicle, Rock BidCo Ltd, had already tabled a proposition to acquire the company at a price of 65 pence per Restaurant Group share, payable in cash.

Restaurant Group’s shares saw an upswing of 2.0%, reaching 67.80 pence each in London around midday on Thursday.

The intrigue deepened as reports indicated that other prospective counter-bidders were also exploring the possibility of submitting offers. However, it remains to be seen whether these speculations will materialise into concrete proposals.

On Thursday, Restaurant Group confirmed its receipt of a diligence request from Wheel Topco, the parent company of PizzaExpress. The statement elucidated that Wheel Topco is earnestly evaluating the prospect of launching an offer for Restaurant Group. However, the statement clarified that no written or verbal indicative proposal, detailing the terms, price, or form of consideration, has yet been presented to Restaurant Group’s board by Wheel Topco.

While Restaurant Group acknowledges the diligence request and the potential for an offer, it asserted that there is no certainty that a formal proposal will ultimately materialize. The company emphasised its commitment to a diligent and meticulous evaluation of any offer that may emerge, with a keen focus on the proposal’s terms.