Little Italy, a vegetarian Italian restaurant chain is looking at raising around Rs 30-40 crore from private equity funds for expanding its presence in the country as well as in the overseas markets. The restaurant chain may also dilute a majority stake for raising the funds. Established in 1995, the firm currently has 35 outlets across India and plans to use the raised funds for increasing the total number of outlets to 60.

Little Italy is also in talks with Specialty Restaurants, which is reportedly planning to acquire stakes in restaurant chains. Umesh Mehta, chairman and MD, Little Italy said, “yes we are in talks with Specialty Restaurants but the discussions are at a very primary stage.”

The company would raise part funding from a strategic partner like Specialty Restaurants and the remaining from a PE fund. This would be its first round of funding. Little Italy has already appointed an investment banker, which is advising the company on tying up PE funding.

Out of its total of 35 outlets, Little Italy also has a restaurant in Dubai. It plans to expand its presence in the overseas market as well, the raised funding will also be used for opening outlets in New Zealand, Australia, London and USA.

Specialty Restaurants is reportedly also in talks with the Delhi based south Indian restaurant chain, Sagar Ratna for acquiring a stake in it. While Specialty Restaurants’ chairman and managing director, Anjan Chatterjee was not available for a comment, KS Bhatt, director, Sagar Ratna denied the reports saying, “We are not in talks with anyone. The information is wrong.” He further said, “we have no plans of selling stakes in Sagar Ratna.”

Specialty Restaurants owns restaurant chains like Oh! Calcutta, Mainland China, Sigree, Sweet Bengal, Mostly Kababs and Just Biryani restaurants. The company owns about 50 restaurants across the country. The acquisitions of Sagar Ratna and Little Italy would help the company broaden its offering in terms of cuisines.

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