Brasserie Bar Co, the operator of Brasserie Blanc, has exchanged contracts with Paramount Restaurants to acquire its eight-strong Chez Gerard chain, in a deal valued at c.£9m, M&C Report has learnt. The group, which is led by Mark Derry, is set to invest £4m to transform the eight sites into Brasserie Blancs through a rolling programme which is expected to start early next year and completed during 2012. Brasserie Blanc, which currently operates nine restaurants under its eponymous brand and two White Brasserie sites, recently raised £20m through an equity injection from backer Core Capital to fund its expansion, with plans to grow to 40 sites over the next five years. The eight-strong portfolio comprises sites in Bishopsgate, Chancery Lane, Charlotte Street, St Paul’s, the Southbank, near the Tower of London and two sites in Covent Garden – Opera Terrace and Le Petit Café. The addition of the eight sites will be seen as a transformational one for the company, one that will increase awareness of its brand and give it a significant foothold in central London’s key trading areas. Derry said: “We are delighted to have secured these prime locations for Brasserie Blanc which will give us significant traction in central London and progresses Raymond Blanc’s dream of bringing quality French food to the high street. “We have an exceptional team, led by John Lederer, which is ready to go. Our task will be to transform these sites to the quality our customers have come to expect from the Brasserie Blanc brand. “Our strategy, when we raised £20m of new equity in September, was to expand our brasserie businesses particularly in London and the South East. This acquisition gives us eight new Brasserie Blancs and increases the number of covers we serve to over 2000.” It is thought that the Chez Gerard estate has produced a positive like-for-like sales performance over the last 12 months. The sale of the Chez Gerard sites would leave Paramount with c.25 “high street” sites on the market, comprising 18 Brasserie Gerards, four Livebaits and three Bertorellis. As revealed by M&C Report in August, Paramount has appointed Deloitte to look at its future options, including a sale of the entire business, which has a mooted price tag of around £25m, or a break-up of its estate. It is thought that a number of operators have approached Deloitte about acquiring small groups or individual sites.