Caffe Nero is to be taken private in a 270 pence per share deal valuing the group at £225m. Including debt, the deal values the group at £235m. The company was valued at £35m at its IPO in March 2001. The offer was made by Rome Holdco, a bidding vehicle formed by Saratoga, the company which holds the interests of Gerry Ford, the group’s chief executive, founder and current chairman, and the group’s largest shareholder Paladin. Rome Holdco said: “As a privately owned company, the offeror believes that management will have greater flexibility to pursue its expansion strategy to add to its current network of 290 stores.” The group’s independent directors, advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers, have recommended the offer. John Barnes, independent director of Caffe Nero, said: “It’s an independent director’s duty to makes sure it’s the best price and a fair price. “The forecast in the market at the moment would suggest that this is a good price and looking at the fundamentals of the business and going forward we think it’s a fair price.” The bid, which is at the higher end of expectations, represents a multiple of 15.1 times the company's ebitda for the year ended 31 May 2006 and a P/E ratio of 50.2 times. Saratoga and Paladin hold 29.55m shares representing 42.76% of the issue share capital. The company currently controls an estimated 13.5% of the UK branded coffee bar market and aims to open 450 stores. The group is also viewing overseas expansion, with commentators mooting the Middle East and northern Europe as the most likely locations.