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Bid to save Gaucho heats up as former The Ivy owner enters the fray

Published:  08 August, 2018

Prominent foodservice investor Luke Johnson has become the latest person to enter into talks to buy ailing steak restaurant, Gaucho, it has been reported.

According to Sky News, Johnson is now in the running to buy Gaucho from administration firm Deloitte, which was called in following the axing of sister restaurant Cau last month.

Johnson has previously been the owner of The Ivy restaurant in London's West End, Pizza Express, Feng Sushi, Giraffe, and is currently part of the investment firm behind the Patisserie Valerie chain.

He is now believed to be among a small number of prospective buyers, which reportedly includes American buyout firm Carlyle and investors Aurelius Equity Opportunities.

It is unlikely anything will be confirmed until a sale goes through, with around 900 jobs still hanging in the balance.

On July 20, Harpers reported that Gaucho was closing all of its Cau sites in order to focus on stabilising the premium Argentinian wine and steak restaurant.

Twenty-two restaurants and some 500 jobs were lost when Cau went under.

At the time, administrators were frank about Cau and Gaucho’s problems, with Deloitte’s Matt Smith stating that Cau “struggled in the oversupplied casual dining sector”, blaming “rapid overexpansion, poor site selection, onerous lease arrangements and a fundamentally poor guest proposition”.