Blackstone is hoping to make the most of the potential it sees in the UK casual dining sector following its £267m purchase of Tragus Holdings, owner of more than 160 restaurants. It believes the sector is in the early stages of growth as UK consumers’ propensity to eat out is increasing while casual dining formats are in the earliest stages of their evolution. Blackstone plans to give Tragus, owner of Café Rouge, Bella Italia, Ortega tapas bars and Amalfi, Oriel and Abbaye brasseries, a £100m infusion to fund expansion, acquisition and working capital. It hopes to help the group expand UK market share. The Times says the return that Legal & General has gained from the sale is likely to embarrass Whitbread, which sold the company four years ago for just £25m. Tragus chief executive Graham Turner, will remain at the helm along with the rest of the management team. Financial Times 16/12/06 page 19 The Times 16/12/06 page 51 The Daily Telegraph 16/12/06 page 30 (DataBase), page 31 The Independent 16/12/06 page 48