Pizza Express’s owner has pulled out of the takeover battle to buy Wagamama owner The Restaurant Group (TRG).

Wheel Topco, which owns the pizza chain, said last month that it was mulling over a potential offer for TRG.

However, on Tuesday, it told investors that it does not intend to make a firm offer “due to market conditions”.

The interest from Pizza Express’s parent firm came after bosses at TRG had already agreed to sell the business to US private equity giant Apollo.

Pizza Express restaurant closures
Pizza Express is owned by Wheel Topco, a group of bondholders which took over the company in 2021 (Yui Mok/PA)

Apollo agreed to buy the business, which also runs the Brunning and Price pub group, for £701 million.

As part of that deal, Apollo would pay 65p per share, about one third higher than where the company’s shares were trading the day before the offer was made.

TRG runs about 380 hospitality sites across the country.

It recently agreed to give away its 75 Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito restaurants to Big Table Group for the nominal sum of £1 each.

To sweeten the deal, TRG also said it would pay Big Table Group £7.5 million.

Shares in TRG dropped by around 3% in early trading as a result.