Sunday 17 May 2009 8:00 pm

Carluccio’s bidder outed

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THE mystery bidder for the Italian restaurant and retail chain Carluccio’s is believed to be investment firm Hutton Collins.

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.

The group’s shares have recently jumped 25 per cent, closing at 97p on Friday. The increase values the group at £55.7m. Carluccio’s was founded in 1991 by Antonio and Priscilla Carluccio who made almost £10m when they floated the chain in 2005.

Hutton Collins has 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.

Tomorrow Carluccio’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 £12 per head, and the business has proved resilient.

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