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MBO group in talks with Paramount

28 June 2004
MBO group in talks with Paramount

Restaurant group Paramount, owner of Groupe Chez G‚rard, is in talks over a £28m management buyout.

Responding last week to a bounce in the share price, fuelled by takeover speculation, the company commented: "The board of Paramount announces that it has received an approach from parties connected with management which might lead to an offer at a price of as much as 35p per share."

It added that talks were at an "extremely preliminary" stage.

Speculation that Paramount was planning to expand has been mounting since former Zizzi boss Phil Wickens joined as chief operating officer in April.

Analyst Paul Hickman, from KBC Peel Hunt, said: "Private owners may potentially be willing to take a long-term view to investment, and the new management team may feel they have what it takes to expand the business."

Paramount, which bought the then-struggling group in 2003, stated in April that it had turned the business around, with average sales up by 7% across the group's 21 restaurants, and pre-tax profits doubling to £900,000 in its first six months.

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