Tragus, the Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Strada owner, is reportedly in discussions over a bid for Paramount that could value the firm at £50m. Paramount, which owns restaurant chains including Cafe Uno and Bertorelli, was taken over by its lenders last year in a debt for equity swap valued at £55m. It hired Christie & Co to sell 37 of its outlets and take soundings for a takeover of the entire company. Tragus is understood to have indicated its interest last week. Blackstone, which owns a number of entertainment and leisure interests including Centre Parcs, acquired Tragus for £267m in 2006 after backing a management buyout. Previous owner Legal & General Ventures had bought the group for just £90m the year before. The firm has continued to grow, and now boasts more than 280 sites across the UK. However, it is expected to face stiff competition for Paramount, with Ivy owner Richard Caring also understoon to be in the running. Sunday Times, Business, p3