TORONTO - The Financial Post is reporting that Fairfax Financial Holdings Inc. (TSX:FFH) is in talks with the owner of Swiss Chalet and Harvey's with the aim of uniting two of Canada's largest restaurant operations.
Industry sources told the Post that Fairfax is seeking an investment in privately owned Cara Operations to pave the way for a possible merger with Prime Restaurant Group, owner of East Side Mario's, Casey's and other restaurants.
Fairfax — a Toronto-based company primarily focused on property and casualty insurance — acquired Prime about two years ago, beating a competing offer from Cara.
Bill Gregson — who revived The Brick furniture business, a former Fairfax investment, before it was sold to Leon's — has been floated as a potential chief executive for a merged Prime and Cara, according to an unidentified source.
In addition to the Swiss Chalet chicken and ribs and Harvey's hamburger outlets, Cara's restaurants include Kelsey's, Montana's and Milestones offering a wider variety of fare.
"As with many companies, it's Cara's policy to not comment on speculation or rumour in the news media and, as such, we have nothing to offer on the article published this morning," the company said in an email response to the report.
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