Filipino group Jollibee reportedly weighing Pret A Manger takeover

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Filipino fast food group Jollibee Foods Corp is reportedly eyeing a potential takeover of British sandwich chain Pret A Manger that could value the UK company at more than one billion dollars (£738 million).

The parent company of Jollibee - which is best known for its menu featuring fried chicken, noodles and spaghetti - is said to be discussing a potential deal with an adviser, though the talks are not yet public.

The Filipino company's offer would value Pret at more than one billion dollars, according to Reuters, which first reported the story, citing sources.

A possible takeover of Pret A Manger - which is owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint - would expand the global reach of Jollibee Foods Corp, which has a market value of 263 billion Philippine pesos (£3.79 billion).

The Filipino chain currently operates in countries including the US, Kuwait, Singapore and Hong Kong, according to its website.

A spokeswoman for Pret said the company was "unable to comment on market rumours".

Pret A Manger storefront
Pret A Manger could be valued at one billion dollars (£738 million) (PA)

The news comes just months after reports broke saying that Pret was gearing up for a potential US stock market listing.

It is understood that the US was being favoured over Britain because it is a key future growth market for Pret, and a listing in the country would raise the chain's profile.

However, it is thought that Bridgepoint, which bought Pret for 500 million euros in 2008, would sell off only a portion of the company.

Pret said in April that its US sales broke the 200 million dollar (£148 million) mark for the first time last year.

Overall, the group posted a record set of results in 2016, with worldwide sales rising 15% to £776.2 million in 2016, while operating profit grew 11% to £93.2 million.

Like-for-like sales rose 4.8%.

Pret opened 50 new shops during 2016, including 31 in the UK, taking its total to 444, with the 500th set to open over the next 12 months.