Links and Freshfields lead on Pizza Express bid

Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have scooped lead roles on Cinven’s possible £559m bid for the parent company of Pizza Express and ASK restaurants, Gondola.

Freshfields partners David Higgins and Julian Long are the firm’s team for longstanding private equity client Cinven.

Meanwhile, Linklaters corporate partner Jeremy Parr is acting for Gondola following the firm’s advice on the company’s initial public offering last November, after being taken private in 2003.

Cinven’s bid for Gondola comes less than a year after the company’s float, which makes it one of the shortest stock market appearances.

At the time, the company floated for 320 pence a share. However, the restaurant group said in a statement that Cinven’s offer bumped its value up to 415 pence per share in cash.

Although details remain unclear as to how the bid has been financed, the financial advisers are Citigroup for Cinven, and Merrill Lynch for the company.