Shares in Domino’s Pizza, the pizza delivery business, climbed 3% (13.5p) yesterday to close at 459p, amid rumours that the c.680-strong group could be the target of private-equity or a management buyout. Bain Capital and the Carlyle Group, which linked up in 2005 to acquire Dunkin’ Donuts, were put forward as two possible suitors for the chain. The group also benefited from Douglas Jack, analyst at Numis, reiterating his Buy recommendation for its shares. Jack said: We believe some commentators’ fixation over Q2E LFL sales comparatives was overdone, ignoring the potential for the next 12 months to be a period of strong growth. “Domino’s shares have priced in a slowdown in like-for-like sales in H1 2011E, in our opinion. However, the likely weakness in like-for-like sales largely reflects the impact of January’s VAT increase, a 13.7% like-for-like sales comparative and a relatively muted level of advertising spend. We believe the company is capable of generating c.15% earnings growth in H1 with minimal benefit from like-for-like sales, underlining the high quality of Domino’s earnings, after which like-for-like sales should accelerate in H2E.” The group, which is led by chief executive Chris Moore, will report its interims on Monday. It is currently developing a food court concept as it looks at further ways to increase its presence in the UK away from its traditional high street locations.