Jamie Oliver to buy back his Jamie's Italian restaurants in Australia

 
Rebecca Smith
Oliver is after six Jamie's Italian restaurants in Australia
Oliver is after six Jamie's Italian restaurants in Australia (Source: Getty)

Jamie Oliver's on a mission Down Under.

The celebrity chef is set to buy back his Jamie's Italian restaurants business in Australia, after Keystone Group (which ran the operation) collapsed and put the franchise up for sale.

Receiver Morgan Kelly from Ferrier Hodgson confirmed Jamie Oliver Group was the preferred bidder for the six restaurants, located in Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide.

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"Jamie Oliver taking control over the restaurants is an exciting outcome for the restaurant staff and patrons," he said. "The Australian Jamie's Italian franchises can now go from strength to strength under the direct management of the Jamie Oliver Group."

Oliver has 42 restaurants across the UK and more than 25 abroad run under his name.

In a statement, he said: "The best news that could come out of the situation I've been placed in is for me to buy back the Jamie's Italian franchise. I believe in it and our Australian teams 100 per cent.

"This will be a really exciting moment for me personally."

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Oliver said the restaurants were among the best performing of this global chain and that he planned on putting more money into them.

In the UK, the chef has been campaigning particularly vociferously on sugar tax, though it's proved a controversial topic. Last October he called for a 20 per cent sugar tax on a litre of drink, saying it could raise up to £1bn.

The Keystone Group's other venues include pubs, restaurants and hotels across Australia. Some of those have been sold since the firm went into receivership in June after failing to renegotiate loans with its investors. It partly blamed strict alcohol and lock-out laws in Sydney for the performance of some of its ventures.

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