Urban Dining, the fledgling restaurant group that was set up this summer, is in advanced talks to buy another group.
It shares were suspended on the Alternative Investment Market after the company, which was set up by former PizzaExpress bosses Glen Tomlinson and John Metcalfe and former Punch finance director Tim Woodcock, announced it was close to a deal.
It would not comment on speculation that the takeover targets included the 22-strong Tootsies chain of burger restaurants and Ma Potter's, which runs 12 chargrill restaurants and two coffee shops. The group's broker, KBC Peel Hunt, is believed to be close to raising an estimated £30m from City institutions to fund the purchases.
When directors Metcalf, Tomlinson and Woodcock floated the company in May with £3.7m of capital, they stated they wanted to reach the same scale of operations as PizzaExpress.
At the launch, it said it planned to buy two or three established restaurant brands with 15-20 outlets apiece, each of which had potential to grow to 100 sites.
The shares have been temporarily suspended because Urban Dining is currently a cash shell with no revenue or assets. This means that, if it were to buy another company, it would be regarded as a reverse takeover.