Hungry suitors circle Pizza Hut as owners put the restaurant chain up for sale

 
Kasmira Jefford
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Pizza Hut’s owners have spent millions refurbishing its restaurants and menu (Source: Pizza Hut)

The Private equity owner of Pizza Hut has put the restaurant chain up for sale after hiring advisers at PwC to find a buyer.

Rutland Partners bought Pizza Hut’s UK franchise business from US firm Yum! brands in 2012 and set out on a £60m revamp of its 285-plus outlets to boost trading.

Efforts have so far paid off, with like-for-like sales up 6.2 per cent in the year to 29 November 2015. Over half of its restaurants have been refurbished, with Pizza Hut reporting a sales uplift of between 10 and 40 per cent at stores that have been given a makeover.

The firm is now working with PwC on a sale and is already in talks with several suitors, sources said.

Pizza Hut could change hands for as much as £150m, reports claimed. Its latest full year accounts show that it made operating profits of £3.3m in 2014, from £1.7m in 2013.

The restaurants and bar sector has been abuzz with deal activity over the last year, with brands such as Cote, Prezzo, Pizza Express, Ask, Zizzi, Byron and Coco di Mama all changing hands over the past 18 months.

Appetite for restaurant acquisitions is expected to remain buoyant this year, with the anticipated sale of Pizza Hut following hot on the heels of Gaucho’s £100m sale to Equistone last month, and restaurant businesses Jackson & Rye and Limeyard, which were sold to Cote last week.

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