Serial sector investor Luke Johnson is the latest name to be linked with a bid for Gaucho, the premium, steak restaurant chain, which was placed into administration last month.

Sky News reported that Johnson, who stepped down as chairman of Gaucho last November after just over a year with the business, in which he also invested, had joined the Carlyle Group, Endless and Aurelius Equity Opportunities in bidding for Gaucho.

MCA understands that bids for the 16-strong business were made last week, with a decision on a preferred bidder due next week from Deloitte, who is handling the administration of the business, which is now believed to be valued at between £20m-£25m.

It is thought that the company’s five-strong banking group led by Lloyds rejected a last-minute bid by former backer Equistone to acquire business last week.

Carlyle’s bid comes just weeks after it offloaded a substantial debt position it held in Prezzo. Simon Wilkinson, former chief executive of La Tasca, is understood to be working with Carlyle as a consultant.

Last month, Deloitte was confirmed as administrators for Gaucho Grill Limited, Gioma (UK) Limited and CAU Restaurants Limited, with all 22 CAU restaurants closing immediate effect resulting in approximately 540 redundancies.

It said that all of the Gaucho sites would continue to trade ‘as usual’ while the administrators seek to find a buyer for the business. They will also look to find potential buyers for the CAU sites.

GVA has been appointed to market the CAU leasehold portfolio, with offers for part or all of the estate due last week.