A little birdy told us Nando’s, the chain of restaurants so popular that the phrase ‘cheeky Nando’s’ has entered common vernacular, may be offering investors a slice of the action with an IPO.

It remains to be seen whether or not the South African chain actually intends to fly the nest – we don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch – but there is rarely smoke without fire, and sauces report that discussions about a float on the London Stock Exchange have begun.

With the rumours whetting investor appetite in the UK capital, a Nando’s spokesman moved quickly to henpeck rumour-mongers, claiming that ‘Nando’s is a privately owned business that is still owned by the entrepreneurs who set up the business in the first place’, ‘speculation about a Nando’s IPO is incorrect’ and ‘nor are they currently considering fundraising’.

While the speculation may have ruffled a few feathers, it remains to be seen whether this is because it’s unfounded or being kept under wraps.

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The history

Nando’s has benefited from private backing from billionaire Dick Enthoven in its native South Africa and traded on the South African stock market between 1997 and 2003, when it was delisted as its managers bought more shares.

The chain has become hugely popular in the UK since it opened its first store here in 1992 and it is clear that a float on the LSE would allow Nando’s to raise funds in what is seen as a more stable currency than the rand, in addition to offering the chain a much larger pool of investors.

Watch this space; despite the rebuttal, we could see a tasty new entrant floating on the stock exchange.