• Johnson rumored to be bidding for PizzaExpress

LONDON -- Rumors are circulating that entrepreneur Luke Johnson, who made his fortune by taking PizzaExpress public with former partner Hugh Osmond, is working to lead a bid for the troubled restaurant chain.

According to The Independent, the move would position Johnson as a counter-bidder to Osmond (See "Bargain-hunting investor group ..."), who led the Twigway venture capital group to post a £250 million (U.S. $395 million) offer two weeks ago.

Johnson is believed to be working with Hawkpoint Partners, a UK firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions.

Johnson and Osmond made £26 million (U.S. $41 million) from floating PizzaExpress in 1993, but the duo parted company after a bidding war for Whitbread's pubs division several years ago.

PizzaExpress has struggled throughout 2002 to reverse negative comparable-store sales trends at its London stores. Still, UK stock analysts expect PizzaExpress will reject Osmond's offer.

A spokeswoman for PizzaExpress said no formal offers outside of Osmond's have been made.

"We will put out a formal statement if we receive any approaches," she said. "At the moment we are still dealing with Osmond."

Not everyone is convinced Johnson will launch the counter-bid for PizzaExpress. Some analysts believe his current work directing a management buyout of his Signature Restaurants business will consume too much of his time, though the deal is rumored to be near completion.

The Independent contacted Johnson in France on Nov. 17, but he declined to comment on the rumors.

Related Content

User Comments – Give us your opinion!
Products & Services

Customized Menu Board Content

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6689.png

6689/Customized-Menu-Board-Content

PeopleMatter SCHEDULE™

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4628.png

4628/PeopleMatter-SCHEDULE

Javarama coffee

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6961.png

6961/Javarama-coffee

Mobile Ordering

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/5933.png

5933/Mobile-Ordering

Granbury Websites

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6815.png

6815/Granbury-Websites

PeopleMatter LEARN™

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4627.png

4627/PeopleMatter-LEARN

Leapfrog POS App

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4559.png

4559/Leapfrog-POS-App

DriverSafe

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/keyboard_iix.gif

1424/DriverSafe

See the latest in restaurant POS

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/1926.png

1926/See-the-latest-in-restaurant-POS

Distribution RFP’s & RFQ’s

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6411.png

6411/Distribution-RFP-s-RFQ-s

Digital Menu Boards and ROI
Request Information From Suppliers
Save time looking for suppliers. Complete this form to submit a Request for Information to our entire network of partners.