Private Equity Firm Insists Buyer Retains Little Chef Brand Logo

11 July 2007

LONDON: Little Chef, the ailing chain of British roadside fast food eateries, will not be sold to Italy's Benetton family unless they agree to retain the brand name and its famed logo, according to a press report.

As if to confound the belief that private equity companies have no value criteria other than the bottom line, Little Chef's current owner R Capital, which rescued the firm from administration in January, is making the sale conditional on retention of the brand and its logo.

In a statement that will arch eyebrows across the dealing rooms of London EC2 and Wall Street, R Capital says it "wants to sell to a buyer who cares as much for the heritage of Little Chef as it does".

And the chain's marketing manager Cathy Stevenson told another newspaper: "Little Chef is an iconic British brand and a lot of our staff have invested a great deal of time and effort to revitalise the logo over the years."

The Benetton family, which runs the Italian motorway service station Autogrill chain, wants to introduce that name to the UK. But it seems unlikely to do so on the back of an anonymous Little Chef.

Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff