Little Chef to be sold for up to £50m

25 November 2004 by
Little Chef to be sold for up to £50m

Roadside restaurant group Little Chef will be put up for sale next spring with a price tag of up to £50m.

Permira, the private equity company that bought the 297-strong chain from Compass group in 2002, will seek offers of between £30m and £50m.

Industry sources said: "The real estate is worth £30m to £35m alone."

Permira will use the proceeds from the sale to accelerate the expansion of its Travelodge brand, which it acquired from Compass as part of the same deal.

The company recently announced plans to open a new hotel every 10 days over the next three years.

Grant Hearn, chief executive of Travelodge, said: "It makes strategic sense for us to devote our full financial and management resources to this objective."

Hearn, who will oversee the sale, replaces Tim Scoble as chief executive of Little Chef.

Travelodge plans to keep 115 restaurants at joint hotel and restaurant sites. A spokesman for the company said: "We are keen to make sure that Travelodge customers have access to a good food and beverage offer."

It also expects to retain the Little Chef brand name at the joint-sites as part of a franchise deal with the buyer. "The company still has faith in the brand," said the spokesman. "Its strength was seen recently during the public and press reaction to the proposed change of logo."

by Tom Bill

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