Tom's Companies, owned by Sage software millionaire Tom Maxfield, has sold its Newcastle Quayside restaurant, Treacle Moon.
The upmarket eatery has been bought by Dave and Jayne Kilburn and is undergoing an extensive refurbishment before re-opening on 21 April as The Prickly Pear at The Quayside.
The Kilburn's already own the Prickly Pear Bistros on Sunderland's Esplanade and at The Old Brewery in Castle Eden, County Durham.
Dave Kilburn confirmed he is retaining all the staff at the Tyneside establishment.
One reason for the sale is thought to have been Treacle Moon's location as a high-end venue surrounded by less upmarket bars and restaurants.
Debrah Dhugga, chief executive of Tom's Companies, would only say "it no longer fitted our brand".
Tom's Companies runs the Fisherman's Lodge in Jesmond Dene, Newcastle, and The White Room at its Seaham Hall Hotel and Spa in County Durham - recently awarded a Michelin star for its cuisine.
By Cliff Goodwin