Tragus Holding’s £250m flotation has been put into doubt after strong interest from private equity firms in the operator of Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia restaurant chains. Three or four are thought to have approached Tragus indicating that they would be prepared to offer up to £300m. Kaupthing, Cinven and PPM Capital are thought to have made contact. Tragus said it was still considering all its options but its preferred route remained an initial public offering. Robert Cole’s Business Commentary column, in The Times, says private equity might have a big appetite for restaurants but with many pubs seeking to mitigate smoking bans in England and Wales by upping the ante on food, there was a risk of indigestion. The Times 02/12/06 page 60, page 61 (Business Commentary), page 62 (Need to know), page 65