Restaurant Group Shares Surge on Report of Cinven Bid Interest

Restaurant Group Plc shares rose as much as 11 percent in London on a report that private-equity firm Cinven Ltd. is considering a bid for the U.K. owner of Frankie & Benny’s.

Cinven is in the early stages of evaluating an approach, Sky News reported, without saying where it got the information. Other parties including TA Associates Management LP are also looking at the possibility of bidding, the broadcaster said, citing undisclosed sources. The shares rose as much as 36.4 pence to 354.5 pence, giving the London-based company a market value of 713 million pounds ($1.04 billion).

A Restaurant Group spokesman declined to comment. Cinven didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment. Earlier Thursday, the Betaville blog reported that private equity firm Apollo Global Management has been looking at combining Restaurant Group with its Casual Dining Group, the operator of Bella Italia eateries.

The reported takeover interest comes amid a torrid year for the company, which also owns the Chiquito and Garfunkel’s chains. Analysts slashed their profit estimates last month after the restaurant operator said earnings will miss predictions amid increased competition from rival casual dining chains and a drop in visitors to U.K. retail parks, where many of its outlets are located. The shares have fallen 50 percent this year.

The company is undertaking a strategic review and has said it will rein in store openings.

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