EAT owners lose appetite for sale

EAT.jpgNiall and Faith MacArthur have been forced to abandon the sale of its 92-strong chain of sandwich shops EAT.The poor summer weather and current economic climate have been blamed, after the MacArthurs failed to find suitors matching their reported £150m valuation for the company they formed in 1996.They sold a 42% shareholding to private equity group 3i in 1997, which sold its interest to Penta Capital last year. Still holding 45% equity, the MacArthurs look set to miss out on a prospective £70m windfall.Sources (not sauces) close to the group told The Independent: "It just doesn't make any sense to sell a business like EAT at the moment. The valuations are just too low. That's not to say it won't be sold in the future when things recover."The Indie also speculates EAT is just one of several food and leisure companies feeling the impact of a miserable summer. It claims healthy fast-food chain Leon is “rumoured to be struggling”, while Pizza chain Prezzo has been forced to shelve MBO plans and slot machine firm HB Leisure has put fund raising plans on hold.Not good, and you sense we’ll need more than an Indian summer before investors get hungry again.
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