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Distressing news, pizza lovers. Pizza Express is reportedly fighting to avoid going into administration.
Yep, the popular Italian chain, which brought dough balls to all of our hometowns, is at risk of becoming the latest high-street eatery to collapse.
Pizza Express was acquired by Chinese private equity from Hony Capital in 2014, but a new report from Bloomberg claims the chain has now hired financial adviser Houlihan Lokey Inc and entered talks to save the business.
Representatives from Houlihan Lokey Inc declined to comment when approached by Bloomberg.
The chain's struggle has been well documented as a result of rising costs and a change in consumer habits.
And it looks pretty bad. Reports suggest that Pizza Express chains could be facing a debt of over a whopping £1.6 million per restaurant.
Plus, Bloomberg adds that the group's accounts at the end of last year reportedly show a total debt of £1.2 billion.
They are due to pay £655.6 million of this back by August 2022, while a large amount is also due back the year prior.
Naturally, the potential collapse of Pizza Express has caused heartache among its loyal fans.
BBC Radio 1's Nick Grimshaw called it "the most devastating news of the year".
While another fan of the budget Pizzeria wrote: "We will pay full price for our La Reine on a Romana base! We will declare a national holiday where everyone must visit their local! Whatever it takes to save @PizzaExpress! Dough balls forever!"
A third tweeted: "I AM DEVASTATED ABOUT PIZZA EXPRESS."
As a fourth dramatically chipped in: "If Pizza express goes bust I'll literally cry".
I AM DEVASTATED ABOUT PIZZA EXPRESS.
- Ed Dorrell (@Ed_Dorrell) October 7, 2019
most devastating news of the year https://t.co/XXGIZaq0vQ
- nick grimshaw (@grimmers) October 7, 2019
Nationalise Pizza Express
- Esther Webber (@estwebber) October 7, 2019
Posing a solution, another loyal fan suggested: "Nationalise Pizza Express," in a post which soon racked up 1,500 supportive 'likes'.
Pretty52 have contacted Pizza Express for comment.
It's a tough time for high street restaurants, as Pizza Express' turmoil comes not long after Jamie's Italian shut its doors nationwide amid its own financial struggles.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver shut all 23 of his restaurants across the UK back in May.
Speaking about his restaurants shutting, Jamie said at the time: "I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade. I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.
"I would also like to thank all the customers who have enjoyed and supported us over the last decade, it's been a real pleasure serving you."
It comes as rival to both chains, Prezzo, also announced it would be shutting 94 restaurants recently.
Are we heading towards a world without pizza?!
Featured Image Credit: PA
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