Dragon James Caan 'checking out Little Chef takeover'

 

Dragon's Den judge James Caan is reportedly considering a bid for the Little Chef chain of roadside restaurants in a move that could safeguard the future of the brand.

His private equity firm, Hamilton Bradshaw, is carrying out due diligence checks on the group, according to the Daily Telegraph. Little Chef was put up for sale by owner Rcapital in April.

It was reported last month that bidders including McDonald's, KFC and Costa Coffee were considering making an offer, but ditch the brand, which would see its Fat Charlie mascot disappearing from the roadside after 55 years.

Sources close to Mr Caan told the Telegraph that he was interested in saving the brand and expanding it in the UK, possibly securing many of its 1,100 jobs. The newspaper also reported that it could result in the franchise being expanded to the Middle East.

It is understood the expansion in the UK would include mobile sites on A-roads as well as fixed restaurants.

But it is believed Mr Caan does not want to buy all the Little Chef outlets and is prepared to work with another bidder.

He is said to be eyeing an offer in the range of between £10 million and £15 million.

However, sources close to the sale process said potential offers had already been received in excess of £20 million for the whole business.

The chain has undergone a major overhaul, including a menu revamp by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, since it plunged into administration in 2007 and was bought by Rcapital, a London-based private equity group.

Famous for its large "Olympic" breakfasts, Little Chef began life as an 11-seat restaurant in Reading, Berkshire, in 1958 and has had a string of owners including private equity group Permira.

It had 234 outlets with 4,000 staff at the time of its 2007 collapse.

But the chain now has just 83 sites from Devon to Scotland, serving about six million customers a year meals including steak and ale pies, fried breakfasts and baked potatoes.

Mr Caan, the Government's new social mobility tsar, was plunged into controversy this week after an interview in which he argued parents should not give their children a helping hand in finding jobs - only for it to emerge that he had employed his two daughters.

Hamilton Bradshaw was not immediately available for comment and Rcapital declined to comment.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world