Owners Gondola Group said it agreed the sale with Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital which mostly invests in consumer, manufacturing and healthcare sectors.
Sadly in the sale press release they totally ignored the part Peterborian Peter Boizot played in its creation in 1965. Boizot decades later sold out for some £17m and put a good proportion of the money into Kettners restaurant, Pizza on the Park both in London, running the Great Northern Hotel, buying the Posh football team, opening Gastons and bankrolling the Peterborough Odeon shell transforming it into the Broadway Theatre, the latter allegedly offered to the Peterborough City Council for a 'peppercorn' but the council refused.
The Broadway was then picked up by a Rinaldo Fasulo company as a distress sale reportedly for no more a six figure sum, certainly not in the multi millions as frequently claimed. Its huge state-of-the-art (in 2000) cinema big screen rivalling London west End Cinemas and its 16 surround sound channels ripped out by fraudster Paul Coxwell, who having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing is up before Peterborough Crown Court in August.
John Zhao, chief executive of Hony, said: "Hony Capital is delighted to have acquired PizzaExpress, a well-established and exciting brand.
"With PizzaExpress, we have the opportunity to leverage our local expertise to accelerate its growth in the Chinese market, as well as to continue to drive its business forward in the UK."
Harvey Smyth, chief executive of Gondola Group, said: "PizzaExpress is an iconic brand in the UK restaurant sector with a strong and growing international presence.
"This has been reflected in the considerable interest we received in buying the business and in today's transaction with Hony.
"PizzaExpress is stronger than ever and great credit for this goes to the teams there, who leave Gondola with our thanks and best wishes for the future."
Founded in 1965 by Peter Boizot, who sold the original Pizza express for around £17 million, the chain has since been through multiple changes of ownership, including at one stage being run by restaurants entrepreneur Luke Johnson.
The business is now headed by Richard Hodgson, a former Asda and Wm Morrison executive, who joined just a year ago.
Mr Hodgson said: "Today's acquisition of PizzaExpress is a very positive development at an exciting time for the business.
"Asia is a key part of our future growth strategy and Hony's expertise in this region will be invaluable. We are looking forward to working with them on this as well as our ambitious UK growth plans."
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