Pret a Manger auction close to collapse

The £450m (US$925m) auction for sandwich chain Pret a Manger is close to collapse due to worries about a US recession and reinvestment from its founders.

Lion Capital is the latest to drop out of the bidding process, although Bridgepoint Capital is still in the race for the chain. City sources also told the Sunday Telegraph that a Goldman Sachs-backed mystery American has shown interest.

The bidding process has been hit by worries that a US recession will hit its expansion plans across the Atlantic, as well as fears that millionaire founders Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe will not reinvest in the business.