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PizzaExpress is a chain of pizza and pasta restaurants owned by Gondola Holdings PLC.

The brand, which was launched in 1965, introduced an authentic thin pizza style (based on a 180-year-old Neopolitan recipe) to a public more used to the deep pan variety.

It remained a stock market darling from its 1993 flotation until 2001/2002, when profits began to suffer from rising competition from new players, notably its current stablemates Ask and Zizzi.

The group’s share price plummeted to 245p from a 1998 high of 987p and triggered a flurry of takeover offers, many from current or former PizzaExpress directors. It was acquired by venture capital firms TDR Capital and Capricorn Ventures International (which also owns the Nando’s chicken chain) in 2003 and floated in 2005.

PizzaExpress bought or developed other pizza and pasta brands but only Kettners, the upmarket Soho restaurant, remains in the fold. The other brands (including 12 Café Pasta restaurants, a Marzano and Riviera pizza and pasta restaurant in London, four Gourmet Pizzas outlets and 45 mostly franchised PizzaExpress restaurants overseas) were sold to companies owned by TDR and Capricorn.

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1 Union Business Park
Florence Way