Ford bids to take Caffè Nero private

15 December, 2006
Page 9 
Caffè Nero's chairman and CEO Gerry Ford has made a £225m bid to buy-out the coffee shop chain, which is yet to be agreed by shareholders.
Taking the company private will give "management greater flexibility to pursue its expansion strategy to add to its current network of 290 shops", said Ford. He formed a company called Rome Bidco to make the bid.The company aims to increase Caffè Nero's number of UK stores to 450 and is also believed to be keen to expand in Middle Eastern and Northern European countries."Caffè Nero joined the main market in 2001 at 50p a share. Since then it has grown from 58 stores to 290. I believe the next stage of the company's development will be best achieved in the private arena as we continue our expansion going forward," said Ford.Shareholders would receive 270p per share in last week's deal and the company would expect to delist in January.Gerry Ford's Saratoga and Paladin Partners companies are the two biggest shareholders of Caffè Nero. They will exchange their 43% stakes for ordinary shares and preferred equities of Rome Bidco.For the financial year ending 31 May 2006, Caffè Nero had turnover of £90.7m, up from £70.1m in 2005. Profit leaped from £3.8m to £7.3m. Caffè Nero was founded by Gerry Ford in 1997.



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