Azzurri Group, the owner of the Ask Italian And Zizzi restaurant chains, has said that it has been bought by London-based investment management company TowerBrook Capital Partners in a deal that will close 75 of its branches, putting 1,200 jobs at risk.
Azzurri, which employs over 6,000 people, said that the deal was implemented as part of its insolvency process, for which TowerBrook has committed over £70 million, enabling the business to restructure its balance sheet.
The company said in an e-mailed statement that it has appointed KPMG as an adviser for evaluation of its operational and financial position, which led to its deal with TowerBrook.
The statement added that the company is planning to reopen 40 Ask Italian and Zizzi restaurants this week.
The coronavirus outbreak has taken a toll on restaurants and restaurant chains across the world due to government restrictions on people's movements as well as consumer fears about large public gatherings.
"The COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on the casual dining sector, bringing many businesses like ours to a standstill," Azzurri chief executive Steve Holmes said.
In recent weeks, Britain has eased lockdown restrictions as infection rates have fallen, but the government has said that it must now begin to prepare for a potential second peak over the winter.
Britain is the worst-affected country in Europe by COVID-19, with a death toll from confirmed cases of more than 45,000.