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Thu 4th Jun 2020 - ASK and Zizzi owner Azzurri Group explores possible sale
ASK and Zizzi owner Azzurri Group explores possible sale: Azzurri Group, the ASK Italian, Zizzi and Coco di Mama operator, has begun contacting prospective bidders for the business. Sky News reported KPMG, which has been advising Azzurri on its options going forward, is inviting offers for part or all of the circa 300-strong business. The process is at an early stage, and is said to be only one of the options Bridgepoint is considering for the future of the company, which employs about 6,000 people. It was revealed at the start of last month Azzurri had appointed KPMG to help it assess options in regards to taking “action to secure the future of the business”. Like the majority of the sector, the company had already suspended payments to landlords and is using the furlough scheme to pay most of its staff. However, like some private equity-backed companies, it is yet to discover whether it is eligible for a business interruption loan. It is thought one option that was considered is a trimming of both its ASK and Zizzi estates. Chief executive Steve Holmes told Propel last month: “As you know, before the crisis we were a very successful business delivering consistent like-for-like sales and profit growth. Since lock-down we have acted very quickly to put the business into hibernation and take out all costs possible, making sure particularly we did everything we could for our teams. Now hibernation has been successfully achieved we need to take action to secure the future of the business. The crisis has hit the whole sector hard and, as you would expect, we need to get the best advice possible as we look towards reopening.” Azzurri was created at the end of 2014 when Bridgepoint paid £250m for the ASK and Zizzi chains. It acquired the then six-strong Coco Di Mama brand in 2015. Bridgepoint and Azzurri declined to comment.

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