Administrators for Carluccio’s have received bids for various sites but reports suggest it is growing increasingly unlikely that a buyer will be found for the whole business, which employs 2,000 people across 70 units.
FRP Advisory, which is handling the administration, is said to have asked prospective bidders to table their final offers this week.
The Financial Times claims that supermarket chain Tesco is among those that have expressed an interest in Carluccio’s sites and other assets after the Italian chain collapsed into administration last month.
Boparan Holdings, the company behind Giraffe and former owner of Harry Ramsden’s, has also been named among the firms eyeing up sites, along with burger brand Byron.
One source said no buyer had come forward for the whole business, but a number of offers for the Carluccio’s name were being considered.
The report suggested FRP is looking to save around half of the chain’s sites, with the top 30 most profitable sites making around £6m in EBITDA.
A source close to Tesco told the FT that the supermarket chain was weighing up a small number of Carluccio’s sites for its convenience-style Express stores.
FRP has declined to comment on the sale process, but last month joint administrator and partner Geoff Rowley described the issues currently facing the hospitality sector following the onset of Covid-19 as “well documented”.
He said: “In the absence of being able to continue to trade Carluccio’s, in the short term, we are urgently focused on the options available to preserve the future of the business and protect its employees.”
Carluccio’s had been working hard on a turnaround plan after implementing a CVA two years ago and reformatting many of its stores.
But the government’s closure of pubs and restaurants exacerbated the cash flow pressure it was facing and led directors to place it into administration after it became clear it could not meet its financial obligations.