Carluccio's bidder outed

THE mystery bidder for the Italian restaurant and retail chain Carluccio&rsquo;s&nbsp;is believed to be investment firm Hutton Collins.<br /><br />At the beginning of May, the group founded by chef Antonio Carluccio confirmed that it had received a preliminary approach but did not provide any details on the possible bidder.<br /><br />The group&rsquo;s shares have recently jumped 25 per cent, closing at 97p on Friday. The increase values the group at &pound;55.7m. Carluccio&rsquo;s was founded in 1991 by Antonio and Priscilla Carluccio who made almost &pound;10m when they floated the chain in 2005.<br /><br />Hutton Collins has&nbsp;experience with the restaurant world, previously backing restaurant chains Pizza Express, Wagamama and Loch Fynne, which is now owned by pubs and brewing firm Greene King.<br /><br />Tomorrow Carluccio&rsquo;s will update the City on its trading through the downturn. So far the group has been cushioned by its relatively low average consumer spend of &pound;12 per head, and the business has proved resilient.