Marco in talks with Planet Hollywood

03 May 2002 by
Marco in talks with Planet Hollywood

Marco Pierre White is to hold talks with Robert Earl, the founder and chief executive of Planet Hollywood, about extending the US chain into the Midlands and the North of England.

White, who is a partner in the UK's only Planet Hollywood, in London, will discuss the expansion plans with Earl when he comes to the UK this month.

White is also close to announcing the acquisition of an existing large restaurant in London's West End, and a property worth about £10m which will be converted into a 40-bedroom hotel.

Last week, White resigned as director of Mirabelle only to reinstate himself three days later to quash speculation that he had lost control of the Mayfair restaurant and it was about to be sold.

Explaining the curious U-turn, White's spokesman said: "Marco felt it wasn't necessary for him to be a director, as he is a major shareholder in Mirabelle. He doesn't enjoy the intricacies and detail of obligations that come with being a director. He thought he could better employ his time elsewhere. It seems the world doesn't agree."

He added that although the 110-seat restaurant did have almost £10m of debt, including £4m owed to the bank and £5.2m owed to White and his business partner, Jimmy Lahoud, the restaurant recorded a pre-tax profit of £1.3m last year so was not in trouble.

Two of White's restaurants, Titanic and the Oak Room, both in London, closed earlier this year after reporting losses exceeding £5m since 1999.

by Ben Walker and Samantha McClary

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