Speculation that the Strada group of Italian restaurants is looking for a buyer is premature, according to an industry source.
Instead the group is in negotiations to purchase up to five new sites, including venues in Brighton, Windsor, Chichester and Sevenoaks.
Although the sale of Strada is probably inevitable at some point, the group currently has plenty of scope to continue growing organically, the source added.
"The group has always said it wanted to get 50 sites before considering selling and this would increase the profits and potential sale price. But it's a great group with a brand that can easily be rolled out and it may happen sooner than that."
Strada currently has 25 namesake restaurants, two Belgo outlets and three Bierodromes.