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Pizza chain signals its return to the market.

PIZZA Express appeared closer to a stock market return yesterday after a report said the restaurant chain's owner had begun a search for advisers.

Private equity owner TDR Capital, which acquired the business for pounds 278m in partnership with Capricorn Ventures in June 2003, is thought to be looking to appoint bankers to review strategic options for the business.

TDR is said to have interviewed five investment banks in the past few days with a decision on which adviser to appoint due in the next few weeks.

A flotation is thought to be the most likely of its strategic options.

A Sunday newspaper said the autumn was seen as the most probable date for a stock market return, adding that Pizza Express was likely to have a value of between pounds 800m and pounds 1bn, including the group's debt.

Pizza Express has more than 280 outlets in the UK and was recently said to be delivering double-digit percentage increases in like-for-like sales.

Its move is likely to reflect that Pizza Express has met its business plan earlier than expected
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 18, 2005
Words:179
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