There was no shortage of reported interest from buyers for Australia’s Jamie Oliver-branded Jamie’s Italian restaurants after operator Keystone Hospitality Group collapsed, but today receivers announced the Jamie Oliver Group will take back control of the franchise chain as “preferred bidder” for the six restaurants.
Earlier in the year names like Quadrant Private Equity were floated as potential buyers among 80 expressions of interest in the six Australian restaurants, after receivers were appointed to Keystone in June and buyers were sought for Jamie’s and 11 other venues the group controlled.
“Jamie Oliver taking control over the restaurants is an exciting outcome for the restaurant staff and patrons,” receiver Morgan Kelly said in a statement today.
Jamie Oliver said in the same statement the Australian restaurants were some of the best performing Jamie’s franchises worldwide and Keystone’s collapse was in no way a reflection of the performance or success of the restaurants.
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“This will be a really exciting moment for me personally, and I know the guys will be ecstatic to be back in-house. It will allow us to invest even more time and money in people and restaurants, celebrate great Aussie produce and be even more creative,” Oliver said.
Receiver Ferrier Hodgson was tasked with selling the Keystone Group’s other assets, including Bungalow 8 and Cargo Bar, with Dixon Hospitality announced as buyer for six of the venues last month.
The venues, including Jamie’s Italian, continued to trade while Keystone was in receivership. Jamie’s Italian has more than 25 international restaurants and the Australian chain was relatively new to the local hospitality scene, with the Perth restaurant open for just two years when Keystone collapsed.