Speculation finally ended last Tuesday (12 September) after Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer confirmed that it is advising regular client Cinven on a potential £559m bid for Gondola. Linklaters, meanwhile, has scooped an instruction to advise Gondola, which owns the Pizza Express and ASK restaurant chains. Partners David Higgins and Julian Long are leading the team at Freshfields, and it is stressed that Cinven’s is merely a “possible” offer. Corporate partner Jeremy Parr is leading the Linklaters team for Gondola. The firm advised on the company’s IPO last November when it floated for 320p a share. That makes it one of the shortest-ever appearances on the London Stock Exchange. Although an offer is not guaranteed, it still managed to boost Gondola’s share price to 416p a share in cash. Citigroup is advising Cinven, while Merrill Lynch is acting for the company.