Former The Ivy owner in bid to save Gaucho

Restaurant investor and former owner of The Ivy, Luke Johnson, has been revealed as one of the bidders seeking to save Gaucho from administration.

The steak chain entered administration in July, leading to the closure of its sister chain Cau and according to reports Johnson is looking to purchase Gaucho from its administrators, Deloitte.

Johnson has extensive experience in the restaurant business, having previously owned Pizza Express, Feng Sushi and Giraffe. He is also part of the investment firm behind the Patisserie Valerie chain.

He was also the chairman of Gaucho from April 2016 to November 2017, after which he was replaced by Paul Mason, former chief executive of Asda. Johnson is reportedly up against American investment firm Carlyle and UK investors Aurelius Equity Opportunities to acquire the chain.

Hugh Osmond from Osmond Capital was also believed to be in the running for Gaucho, but it is understood that he is no longer an active bidder.

At the time of its administration, Deloitte administrator Matt Smith said: “The Gaucho business which operates in the premium dining market, continues to trade well in its market segment, is profitable and has a strong underlying brand and guest loyalty. We are taking steps to stabilise the business following our appointment and are now seeking expressions of interest in terms of a sale of the Gaucho business.”

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