Pelican swallows Tu Tu

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The Independent Online
PELICAN GROUP, the Cafe Rouge restaurant chain in which Robert Earl, of Hard Rock fame, has a substantial stake, is gobbling up a US theme restaurants business for dollars 2.1m ( pounds 1.4m).

The deal will give Pelican a 50 per cent interest in Cafe Tu Tu Tango, which owns restaurants in Atlanta and Miami with the theme of an artist's studio.

Artists display their work and paint in the restaurants while diners tuck into their meals and listen to live music and entertainment acts. The acquisition is Pelican's first in the US, where it plans to open more restaurants with the Cafe Tu Tu theme.

Cafe Tu Tu made pre-tax profits of dollars 212,000 on turnover of dollars 4.3m last year, when only one of the sites was operating. It has net cash of dollars 1m, which will be used for expansion. Pelican is financing the purchase with a vendor placing involving 2 million shares. The remaining 50 per cent stake is being retained by its founder, Brad Weiser, but Pelican has an option to buy him out in five years.

The buyout terms amount to eight times 50 per cent of Cafe Tu Tu's average pre-tax profits for the years ending 1998 and 1999, net of finance costs. Pelican shares were unchanged at 71p.

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