Talks between the two groups are at an advanced stage, according to BigHospitality's sister site MCA, with Pret looking to acquire either the majority of Eat’s 94 sites or its whole estate.
A Pret spokesperson told BigHospitality: “We never comment on rumour or speculation.”
Pret has around 400 UK stores and has opened three vegetarian-only cafes in London, and one in Manchester, following a successful trial in the capital in 2016.
It was bought by investment business JAB, which also owns Krispy Kreme doughnuts, for a reported £1.5bn in 2018 after nine years of like for like sales growth.
Eat has struggled in recent years, reporting a loss after tax of £17.3m for the 12 months to 28 June 2018. But the chain, which is owned by private equity firm Horizon Capital, said it was on track to grow EBITDA by almost 50% in its current financial year after a review of its service and food offer.
MCA reports that in February Horizon appointed Spayne Lindsay, a corporate advisory firm, to offload the business.
Eat’s current CEO Andrew Walker worked at Pret for 12 years, and was managing director for four years until 2012.
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