Morgan Stanley revives talks to buy Wagamama – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

06 December 2010 by
Morgan Stanley revives talks to buy Wagamama – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Morgan Stanley revives talks to buy Wagamama The private equity division of investment bank Morgan Stanley has emerged as the sole bidder for noodle bar chain Wagamama after low bids prompted its owners put the sale process on hold last month. Although Morgan Stanley has returned for talks, an inside source forecasts only a 25% chance of a deal being reached as the parties have not agreed a price. Morgan Stanley recently submitted an offer just above £200m but private equity firm Lion Capital, which bought Wagamama for £100m five years ago, is hoping to raise £250m from the sale. Lion Capital cancelled an initial public offering in Wagamama after the financial crisis erupted in 2007 and has called off a subsequent auction. It is also in the process of raising a £1.7b fund. - 5 December
Read the full article in theSunday Telegraph >>

FSA issues food-poisoning warning on undercooked offal The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned chefs not to undercook chicken liver and offal dishes by leaving the centre pink as they risk spreading food poisoning campylobacter bugs, which the agency says contaminates two-thirds of shop-bought chicken. There were 57,772 confirmed cases of food poisoning by campylobacter in 2009, and levels are expected to rise by 10% this year. Fifteen of 16 food-borne outbreaks in 2010 have been linked to caterers - including eight hotels, two wedding caterers, two restaurants, one club and a school. In 11 cases, the outbreaks were linked with chicken or duck patés and parfaits. The FSA recommends cooking liver, kidneys and offal until "steaming hot" and ensuring that the centres reach 70°C for two minutes, 65°C for 10 minutes, 75°C for 30 seconds or 80°C for six seconds. - 4 December
Read the full article in theGuardianand theScotsman >>

Greene King to integrate brewing under Belhaven boss Greene King plans to fully integrate the Scotland-based Belhaven business it acquired for £187m five years ago in a move that will save it £1m a year. Under the change, Belhaven managing director Euan Venters will head up the group's combined brewing operations in Dunbar and Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Belhaven's pub operations will be absorbed into the group structure with no changes at shop floor or junior management levels. The plans were unveiled as Greene King announced record first-half operating profits at Belhaven, which rose by 10% to £17.5m on turnover up nearly 6% to £76.4m. Overall, the group boosted pre-tax profits to £73.1m, up from £62.4m the year before. - 4 December
Read the full article in theScotsman >>

Hotels cash in on royal wedding London hotels are hiking their prices by up to 200% in anticipation of the royal wedding at Westminster Abbey on April 29 which, as a bank holiday, will turn the May Day weekend in to a four-day holiday. According to the Sunday Express, the Athenaeum in Piccadilly - which has a rooftop view over Green Park - will be charging £500 for rooms that normally cost £300. Many landmark London hotels, such as the Dorchester, are already fully booked and the only two hotels that overlook Buckingham Palace, the Rubens and Number 41, plan a royal special. - 5 December
Read the full article in theSunday Express >>

New pub ban set to be extended Edinburgh council chiefs are proposing to extend a ban on new pubs and clubs in areas it considers over-provided in a bid to improve health. They intend to ask the police, health experts and licensing standards officers for more in-depth figures on the impact of pubs and clubs in each area. New areas that could come under the ban include George Street, Picardy Place, Lothian Road, Princes Street and the centre of Leith. The board has expressed particular concern over "large drinking establishments, which are used primarily for the sale and consumption of alcohol and provide little or no seating". Patrick Browne, chief executive of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, condemned the proposals. "We would be concerned about the conclusions they have reached given that they have singled out the traditional bars as being the cause of over provision when premises like hotels have much larger capacities," he said. - 4 December
Read the full article in theScotsman >>

Snow traps seven in Yorkshire pub for eight days The severe weather has trapped seven people in a pub in North Yorkshire for eight days since Friday 26 November, with no escape in sight visible on Saturday. Drifts of up to 16 feet have blocked the doors and windows of the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge, Kirkbymoorside, which is England's fourth highest pub. Katie Underwood, 18, who has worked as a waitress at the Lion Inn for four years, said the stranded group had cleared a door at the back to let in some fresh air and had been skiing on trays and making snow angels. She added that they were now trying to dig their cars out from under nine feet of snow. "It's been absolutely freezing, but we've been lucky that it's a pub and B&B we're trapped in," she said. - 4 December
Read the full article in theDaily Mail >>

By Angela Frewin

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