In an official statement, Park Place Capital said it was "considering its options", but it had "no present intention" of accepting the management's offer for Signature, which runs the Belgo mussels-and-beer chain, Strada pizza restaurants and the upmarket Ivy, Le Caprice and J Sheeky. Park Place said it would make a further announcement "in due course".
Lotto owns 12 restaurants including the A to Z Restaurants chain and the upmarket Aubergine and L'Oranger in London.
The MBO offer, involving chairman Luke Johnson, chief executive Andrew Bassadone and finance director Nicholas Fiddler and being made through a vehicle called Pinco 1771, was made after Signature reported a drop in underlying profits to £3.1m from £4.3m in 2001. It blamed difficult trading conditions particularly in central London. Post-exceptional pre-tax profits came in at £2.3m, against a loss of £1.3m last year. Total sales for the 12 months up to June 30 were 1.4% down at £39.4m.
So far the MBO has received irrevocable undertakings from shareholders representing 20.3% of its issued share capital, though 6.31% of that is only binding unless a competing offer of 70p per share or more is announced by 22 October. Johnson has a 4.8% stake in the company.