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Monday, October 18, 1999 Published at 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK

Business: The Company File

Ramsden's fishes for takeover

Harry Ramsden's has taken a battering from competitors

Fish and chip chain Harry Ramsden's is believed to be in takeover talks with leisure giant Granada.

The fast food company responded to speculation linking it with Granada by saying it was in talks which "may or may not lead to an offer".

The group said an offer would value the company at about £20m, or 190p a share.

Harry Ramsden's began in a shed in Guiseley, Leeds, in 1928, and now has 65 sites in the UK and eight overseas.

Its Guiseley store is now the world's largest fish and chip restaurant, although in the last year the company had been moving away from the sit-down restaurant market to focus on smaller take-away stores in the face of tough competition.

Granada is believed to be planning to expand the Harry Ramsden brand on the back of its chain of 460 service stations.

Granada runs its Little Chef restaurants and Travelodge budget hotels from its roadside sites. It also runs a chain for Burger King.

Recently, eight Harry Ramsden's shops have been opened at Granada service stations.

Harry Ramsden's shares were trading 30 pence or 21% up at 175p shortly after the announcement. Granada's shares were up two pence at 491p.

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