"Has Neil ever heard of the Isley Brothers?" Tracee asked Michelle this morning as she decanted out of her multi-coloured snood-poncho combo upon arrival at the office.
"I have no idea. Why do you ask?"
"It's just that they are planning to buy out Caffè Nero."
"Are you absolutely sure, Trace?" Michelle asked. Michelle has a vague memory of turning off Smooth radio when they play any music before the invention of the semi-colon and the Isley Brothers hits, such as This Old Heart of Mine and Harvest to the World, charted in the mid-60s. They were still performing as late as 2019, but only with the kind assistance of the miracle that is Ventolin.
It turns out that the three Isley brothers from Cincinnati who formed a group in the late 50s are not planning to buy out troubled coffee retailer, Caffè Nero, it is the EG Group, headed by the billionaire Issa Brothers. Zuber and Mohsin Issa started their business with a single petrol forecourt in Bury, Greater Manchester, in 2001 and, not being content with that, bought 5,199 more over the next 19 years, stocking them with all the stuff motorists like to take back to their vehicles, such as Haribo, coffee (hey, that could be the link), salted peanuts, fast food, milk and chewing gum.
You'll have heard of them, because in October of this year they decided to get a little more ambitious and bought Asda. Well, this morning it looks as if they now want to add Caffè Nero to their expanding portfolio and have launched a bid for the chain hours before creditors vote on the company's CVA later today (Monday 30 November). Apparently under the EG proposal, Caffè Nero's landlords would be paid in full for the rent arrears owed to them as a result of the Coro ... blah, blah, blah. That could prove too tempting to miss for those voting on the proposal by the directors.
More later, as this story unfolds.