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Heston Blumenthal sells Fat Duck to relative – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

17 March 2008 by

Blumenthal sells Fat Duck to relative
Leading chef Heston BlumenthalThe Mail on Sunday, 16 March

Whitbread in talks to merge Premier Inn with TravelodgeWhitbread has held secret talks to merge its Premier Inn budget-hotel business with the rival Travelodge chain. The move, which might spark a competition enquiry, would create a £3b hospitality giant. Whitbread, which also owns the Costa Coffee chain, is understood to have discussed buying Travelodge with its owner, Arab Investment firm Dubai International Capital (DIC). In return, DIC would acquire a large stake in Whitbread. Premier Inn and Travelodge dominate the budget sector with 32,500 and 22,000 rooms respectively. Premier Inn is the best-performing part of Whitbread, which attempted to buy Travelodge two years ago but lost out to DIC. - The Sunday Times, 16 March

M&B mulls minority stake sale Beleagured pub operator Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) is considering the sale of a minority stake - and a boardroom presence - to private equity firms such as Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners in return for a loan that would help retain its independence as a listed company. Some shareholders want directors to agree to a takeover by rival Punch Taverns or a private equity group. M&B is believed to have agreed a bridge loan of about £400m to cover the £391m losses from its failed hedging position during talks over a property joint venture with its biggest shareholder, Robert Tchenguiz. - Sunday Express, 16 March

Tate to show super-salad Experimental US artist Alison Knowles will prepare, dress and mix a giant salad to the music of Mozart and serve it to 300 guests at the Tate Modern in a performance called Make a Salad. Five members of the Tate catering department will help her chop the hundreds of lettuces, cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes on a trestle table on a bridge built 25ft above the floor of the gallery's turbine hall. The chopped salad will be thrown into a vessel on the floor, dressed and mixed with oars and garden rakes. The event, which takes place on 24 May, will still be dwarfed by a world-record-setting 10.25kg salad made in a small Israeli community last November. - The Sunday Times, 16 March

By Angela Frewin

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