The owners of PizzaExpress have tabled a £225m bid for rival pizza and pasta group Ask Central.
The board of Ask Central has recommended the 220p-a-share bid to shareholders.
The bid has been made by venture capital group TDR and Capricorn Ventures, which owns the Nando’s chicken chain, through a specially formed company called Riposte.
Their offer trumps by some 20% a previous recommended cash-and-shares offer from The Restaurant Group, formerly City Centre Restaurants, worth about 182p a share.
The directors of Ask, and other members of the Kaye family, have agreed to sell their shares to Riposte, representing just more than 17% of the existing share capital.
Manjit Dale, founding partner at TDR, said: “Adam and Samuel Kaye and their team have built a great business with excellent prospects. We intend to build on their success by developing the leading full-service restaurant chain in the UK.”
TDR and Capricorn bought PizzaExpress for £277.8m in July 2003.
A merger with Ask would create a group with some 475 restaurants in the UK.
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