• Nando's bids $438 million for PizzaExpress, source claims

LONDON -- A Times of London report claims Nando's, a Mexican restaurant chain, has bid £273 million (U.S. $438 million), 380 pence (U.S. $6.09) per share, for PizzaExpress.

Sources close to the bidding say PizzaExpress chairman Nigel Colne, as well as Credit Suisse First Boston, the company's financial adviser, are amenable to the new bidders, but are debating whether their demand for a break fee of £2.7 million (U.S. $4.33 million) in the event of a higher bid from a third party is reasonable.

The potential counter-bid is supported by a consortium led by Capricorn Ventures International, the South African group that controls Nando's, and TDR Capital, a private equity firm set up last year by Manjit Dale, formerly of DB Capital Partners.

If Johnson's group is outbid, it is entitled to a break fee of £2.7 million (U.S. $4.33 million), equivalent to 1 percent of the transaction value.

News of the bid sent PizzaExpress shares down 3 1/2 pence to 377 1/2 pence (U.S. $6.05).

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