| LONDON, June 6
LONDON, June 6 Bankers are working on debt
financing packages of up to 600 million pounds ($1.01 billion)
to back a potential sale of restaurant chain Pizza Express,
banking sources said on Friday.
Private equity firm Cinven acquired Gondola, which owns
Pizza Express and other well-known UK restaurant chains, in a
public to private transaction in 2007 for 1.3 billion euros
It has now put Pizza Express up for sale in a process
expected to fetch around 1 billion pounds, the banking sources
The sale has attracted interest from a number of potential
buyers eager for deals after a lack of M&A so far this year. Two
private equity firms and one trade buyer are expected to have
made it through to the final round of an auction process on June
26, the banking sources said.
Cinven and Pizza Express were not immediately available to
Bankers are considering leveraged loans and high yield
bonds, fully denominated in sterling, to back a buyout totalling
5.5-6 times Pizza Express' earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of approximately 90-100
million pounds, the banking sources said.
"There is enough capacity in the sterling market for a deal
of this size at the moment," one of the banking sources said.
This is the latest sale of a Gondola asset after last year's
sale of UK burger restaurant chain Byron to Hutton Collins for
100 million pounds. Gondola, a prominent player in the UK casual
dining sector, also owns ASK, Zizzi and Kettner's, according to
($1 = 0.5956 British Pounds)
($1 = 0.7345 Euros)
(Editing by Christopher Mangham)