Bidders tempted to bite into Eat

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The Independent Online

Eat, the sandwich chain with 85 outlets, will be holding a beauty parade of corporate advisers next month to prepare for a sale which could value it up to £150m.

Likely bidders include Advent International and Morgan Stanley Private Equity, which both narrowly missed out on rival chain Pret a Manger. At least one is understood to have set up a bid team. Advisers from the big four accountancy firms – KPMG, Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte – are all expected to pitch for the job of advising Eat and its founders, Niall and Faith MacArthur.

Advent and Morgan Stanley lost Pret a Manger to Bridgepoint, which is not expected to add to their lunchtime holdings by bidding for Eat.

It was the unexpectedly juicy price of £345m that Pret fetched which persuaded the MacArthurs, and co-owner Penta Capital, that it was time to sell. "They were looking to see how Pret traded and thought the offer was quite attractive," said a source.

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