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Smollensky's owner considering sale

30 June 2008 by

The owner of Smollensky's is considering selling the grill restaurant chain after receiving an unsolicited offer for its Canary Wharf outlet, Caterersearch has learnt.

The Grill Group, which currently runs seven Smollensky's sites in London and the South-east, is investigating the value of the group, after the Canary Wharf offer from an undisclosed party.

Property agents Christie & Co are believied to be advising the group on the sale.

Paul Lilley, chief executive of the Grill Group, told Caterersearch: "We received an offer completely out of the blue for the Canary Wharf restaurant. We had to start an exercise to evaluate the offer and look at the value of the business on the market."

Grill Group, a holding company backed by private equity group Octopus, bought Smollenskys in September 2007 for £6.5m, and has since sold under-performing sites whilst reinvesting in the brand, which includes Smollensky's Metro and Burgershack.

The purchase came after Smollensky's had appointed corporate restructuring specialist Kroll to look at a way forward after a period of financial struggle which had seen three sites close.

"We are nine tenths of the way through putting this right," Lilley said, adding that another two sites, including Smollensky's Metro in Croydon, would be put up for sale in the coming weeks.

Lilley insisted that the Grill Group does not want to sell Smollensky's, but could not rule it out.

"I went to a lot of trouble to get this business and our natural inclination is not to sell," he said. "But we have got to go through this exercise to do our directorial duties."

Time for the industry to come clean over tipping>>

Smollensky's sold to private equity firm for £6.5m>>

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By Christopher Walton

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