| LONDON/NEW YORK
LONDON/NEW YORK Fast food chain Pret a Manger's private equity owners have chosen Solebury Capital to advise on a planned New York stock market listing, people close to the situation said.
The U.S. capital markets advisory firm will also help Bridgepoint select investment banks for an initial public offering, which could come before the end of the year, they added.
"Our longstanding investment in Pret regularly prompts speculation about our intentions. We expect to remain a significant investor for the foreseeable future," a spokesman for Bridgepoint said.
Solebury declined to comment.
Launched more than three decades ago, Pret A Manger has around 400 branches globally, serving fast food made onsite to more than 300,000 customers in Britain, the United States, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai. It is aiming to expand store numbers by around 15 percent per year.
Bridgepoint bought the chain, best known for its coffee, pastries and sandwiches, at the height of the buyout boom in 2008 for 500 million euros ($539 million).
Although the majority of Pret a Manger's stores are in Britain, the company is expected to pursue a listing in the U.S., where the pool of investors is deeper and valuations potentially higher.
Pret generated 84 million pounds in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization on sales of 676 million in 2015, according to the company's latest financial results.
(Editing by Keith Weir)