Financial advisor Ferrier Hodgson, which is handling the sale of the Keystone Group, has announced they the Jamie Oliver Group is the preferred bidder for the franchise chain.
Keystone Group, which owned a number of bars and franchised the Jamie Oliver venues, was placed in receivership in June by a syndicate of lenders.
Jamie Oliver has 42 restaurants in the UK and over 25 internationally.
Oliver said the Australian franchise had some of the best performing Jamie’s Italian restaurants worldwide.
They are situated in Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and Parramatta. He said the receivership of hospitality operator Keystone Group was in no way a reflection on the performance or success of the restaurants.
“The best news that could come out of the situation I've been placed in is for me to buy back the Jamie's Italian franchise. I believe in it and our Australian teams 100%,” said Oliver.
“This will be a really exciting moment for me personally, and I know the guys will be ecstatic to be back in-house. It will allow us to invest even more time and money in people and restaurants, celebrate great Aussie produce and be even more creative. Bringing Jamie’s Italian in-house will also facilitate working more effectively across the other three pillars of the Jamie Oliver Group in Australia (Media, Licensing and Foundation).”
Ferrier Hodgson receiver Morgan Kelly said it was an ideal outcome for the Australian Jamie’s Italian franchises to return to parent group ownership and operation.
“Jamie Oliver taking control over the restaurants is an exciting outcome for the restaurant staff and patrons,” said Kelly. “The Australian Jamie’s Italian franchises can now go from strength to strength under the direct management of the Jamie Oliver Group.”
Last month, Big Hospitality sister title MCA revealed that the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group was to open a permanent version of its Jamie’s diner concept at Gatwick South. The format has been running as a pop-up in Piccadilly. Two more sites were also expected to open under the Barbecoa Steakhouse brand next year.