Tom Aikens, the high-end chef, is in exclusive negotiations to buy six eateries from Paramount Restaurants, M&C Report understands. The talks are thought to be at an advanced stage, suggesting that the 37-strong package put up for sale by Paramount will not be sold to one buyer. Aikens, backed by Oakley Capital, is poised to purchase six leasehold properties that currently trade at IL Bertorelli, Paramount's Italian casual dining format. It is not clear whether Aikens plans to continue to operate them under the IL Bertorelli or if they will make way for another dining concept. It is thought that Aikens and Oakley are prepared to pay between £2m and £3m in premiums for the leases. The sites are located in central London. Four are in the West End – Charlotte Street, Floral Street, Frith Street and St Martin’s Lane – while two are in the City, at Mincing Lane and Plough Place. Paramount is selling the 37 sites, which trade under an array of brands such as Chez Gerard, Live Bait and Caffe Uno at the behest of its banks, a move that prompted the resignation of chief executive Mark Phillips and chairman Sir David Michels. Christie & Co, the property specialist, is handling the sale. Oakley led a refinancing of Aikens’s business two years ago, when the chef’s company underwent a pre-pack administration. The move attracted criticism as it is thought the process left some suppliers exposed to heavy losses. The move saw Aikens jettison a failed casual dining concept in Kensington called Tom’s Place. The chef, who trained with Pierre Koffman and then at the two-Michelin-starred London restaurant Pied a Terre, rose to prominence at his own eponymous eaterie in Chelsea. He also operates Tom’s Kitchen, a best-of-British casual-dining concept, also in Chelsea. He recently opened a sister eaterie to Tom’s Kitchen at Somerset House in London, called Tom’s Terrace – in partnership with Compass Group. The new venture includes 90 covers inside and a 60-seat terrace overlooking The Thames.