BLACKBURN’S billionaire Issa brothers have conceded defeat in their takeover bid for one of Britain’s biggest coffee shop chains ­— for now.

The offer by EG Group founders Mohsin and Zuber for Caffe Nero at the weekend was their latest move to expand their business interests following their £6.8billion purchase of Asda in October.

The brothers wrote to Caffe Nero over the weekend to propose buying the chain from founder Gerry Ford.

The move came hours before the chain asked landlords to slash its rent bill.

Under the EG proposal, Caffe Nero’s landlords would be paid full rent arrears from the Covid-19 crisis.

However the bid was rejected and Caffe Nero went ahead with a request to its creditors to agree a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

An EG Group spokesman said: “EG Group notes that Caffe Nero has chosen to proceed with its CVA.

"We can confirm that EG Group submitted an alternative proposal to the Board of Caffe Nero, having previously made an unsuccessful approach to engage in discussions with the company.

"We regret that Caffe Nero’s creditors did not have an opportunity to consider our proposal fully, as we believe it would have delivered a stronger outcome for all stakeholders, including employees and landlords.

"Moreover, with our significant global expertise in consumer retail and foodservice, including in the coffee segment, we believe that Caffe Nero would thrive under EG’s ownership.

"EG Group will continue to look for opportunities to serve communities and customers through expanding our presence in foodservice.”

City sources speculated this may not be the end of the bid saying: "It remains to be seen how the process will ultimately play out. EG have made their interest in the business clear and submitted what they believe to be a compelling proposal.

"It would now be for Caffe Nero’s creditors and landlords to challenge the CVA process, should they wish to do so."