The Caterer

Capricorn and TDR complete takeover of Ask Central

04 June 2004
Capricorn and TDR complete takeover of Ask Central

Ask Central today cancelled its share listing on the Alternative Investment Market as its £213m takeover by the owners of PizzaExpress and Nando's became unconditional.

The purchase has created Britain's largest independent restaurant group with more than 560 venues.

Capricorn Ventures and private equity group TDR Capital launched their bid for the pizza and pasta restaurant chain at the start of the year in the middle of a proposed merger between Ask and the Restaurant Group (formerly City Centre Restaurants).

With Ask Central, the TDR/Capricorn team has acquired over 172 restaurants, most operating under the Ask and Zizzi brands.

It bought PizzaExpress, which operates 307 restaurants, in June 2003, while Capricorn Venture's Nando's fried chicken chain totals 89 sites.

The three brands will continue to be run separately.

Adam and Sam Kaye, who founded Ask Central in 1993, have been retained in their roles as chief executive and executive director.

by Angela Frewin

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