Restaurateur Explores Patisserie Valerie Takeover, Sunday Times Says

(Bloomberg) -- A businessman who previously sold cafes to the scandal-hit Patisserie Holdings Plc chain has hired advisers with the aim of a takeover bid, the Sunday Times reported.

David Scott said he has enlisted M&A consultancy Transcend Corporate, who are asking shareholders if they’d like to exit, according to the newspaper.

Patisserie Holdings declined to comment on the report.

Birmingham, England-based Patisserie Valerie, which operates more than 200 stores across the U.K., was plunged into turmoil earlier this month. It is currently investigating why it issued options worth millions of pounds to its executives without properly disclosing them in filings. Shares have been suspended.

Its finance director, Chris Marsh, was arrested and subsequently received bail two days after the firm suspended him and announced on Oct. 10 that it was probing potentially fraudulent accounting irregularities. Marsh resigned on Friday.

The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office has opened a criminal probe into an unidentified company official, and accounting regulators at the Financial Reporting Council are also investigating the situation.

The firm will have a shareholder meeting on Nov. 1 to approve a conditional share placing as part of an effort to keep the company in business, and Chairman Luke Johnson has pledged to loan 20 million pounds ($25.7 million) to plug the holes in the balance sheet. Johnson owns 37 percent of the business.

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