Café Rouge owner Tragus Holdings has been bought by investment group Blackstone for £267m, it was announced today.

Blackstone, which owns Centre Parcs and a number of hotel assets around the world, is backing the incumbent Tragus management team led by chief executive Graham Turner.

The deal appears to be a great piece of business for Legal & General Ventures, which bought Tragus in January 2005 for £90m.

Earlier this year, Tragus secured additional funding from Barclays Capital to roll-out its restaurants, which include the Bella Italia and Ortega brands, throughout the UK.

The company has been looking at a number of options for the future with advisors Close Brothers and Citigroup, including a stock market flotation.

Turner said: “We look forward to continuing the group’s successful growth and to maximising the strength of our brands in the rapidly developing UK restaurant sector with the support of Blackstone.”

Tragus has 88 Café Rouge sites, 67 Bella Italias, four Ortega tapas restaurants and four brasseries.

by Chris Druce

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