Gourmet Burger Kitchen owner Clapham House Group has confirmed that it has been approach with an offer to buy the company.
Although the group did not name the potential bidder, Nando's owner Capricorn Ventures is thought to be involved. Capricorn already holds 27% of the Clapham House Group and has been building up a stake since 2007.
Clapham House warned that it was not certain whether an offer would be made and said that a further announcement would be made when appropriate.
The company currently owns 52 Gourmet Burger Kitchens and six Real Greek outlets.
Earlier this week it emerged that Nando's made a pre-tax loss of £23m in the on sales of £167m in the 36 weeks to February 2009.
Commenting on the situation, Peter Backman of foodservice consultancy Horizons said: "The fact that Nando's owner Capricorn Ventures International has made a bid approach for Clapham House, owners of the Gourmet Burger Kitchen and the Real Greek brands, is further evidence of the consolidation we are likely to continue seeing in the eating out sector as we move slowly out of the recession.
"This week Carlson, the US hospitality group, has bought out its private equity partner in TGI Friday's UK and we have already seen Tragus expressing interest in Chez Gerard operator Paramount, the owners of La Tasca launching a formal auction process for the Spanish tapas chain and Ego, the northwest chain of Mediterranean restaurants, looking for a purchaser.
"These takeover attempts focussing on strong brands, yet brands that are not yet mature in terms of geographic saturation, become more likely as the eating out market begins to improve. Bidders are keen to strike before prices recover fully while banks are beginning to finance the right deals again."
By Neil Gerrard
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