Barely 24 hours after Café Rouge owners Tragus Bidco made a £96m offer to acquire La Tasca, a bidding war for the tapas chain has broken out, with Iranian investor Robert Tchenguiz putting in a £98.6m offer through his investment vehicle R20.
Yesterday La Tasca had recommended an 185p per share offer by Tragus Group, the privately backed owners of the Café Rouge and Bella Italia chains. But this morning Tchenguiz made a bid just 3p per share higher.
Tchenguiz said: "We believe that this offer represents an excellent opportunity for La Tasca shareholders to sell their La Tasca shares at an attractive cash price and we look forward to working with La Tasca management and employees in the near future."
Through his TFT private equity vehicle, Tchenguiz has financial interests in Laurel Pub Company, Menzies hotels and the Globe Pub company as well as a substantial stake in pub operators Mitchells and Butlers.
Tchenguiz's bid also states that he is not necessarily committed to operating in the private arena and is willing and able to maintain a substantial interest in La Tasca if it remains quoted on London's AIM market.
By Christopher Walton