The Restaurant Group (TRG) has sold part of its holding in restaurant group Living Ventures for £7m.
TRG sold its interest in the Gusto business to a new company backed by Palatine Private Equity LLP and the LVG management for £7m.
TRG said the net proceeds of the sale would be distributed as a special dividend of 3.45 pence per share to shareholders on the register as at 20 June 2014.
The group, which includes Frankie & Benny's, Chiquito and Garfunkel's, now only has one remaining interest in Living Ventures Group, in the form of a £4m loan note in the Blackhouse Grill Group.
Gusto and Blackhouse are both part of what used to be the Est Est Est estate. The relationship between Living Ventures and TRG came about in March 2005 when TRG bought a 40% stake in Living Ventures for £7.7m. As part of the deal, Living Ventures bought TRG's flagging Italian brand for £16.4m while TRG claimed the option to buy the remaining shares in 2008 or buy back Est Est Est.
TRG subsequently wrote off its 40% stake, so no equity stake in the Living Ventures business showed on TRG's balance sheet. The £7m that is now being returned to shareholders represents the stake that was written off.
Living Ventures has grown significantly since the 2005 deal was struck. Aside from the Gusto and Blackhouse brands, it has several different strands to the business under the Living Ventures banner, including the New World Pub Company, as well as the Artisan, Australasia and Alchemist brands, which are all 100% owned by Living Ventures.
The company is currently basking in the limelight of its Manchester House project under chef Aiden Byrne, who appears alongside his team in the BBC TV show Restaurant Wars.