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A trio of heavy-hitting investors are close to buying a minority stake in a group of high-end restaurants including Nusr-Et steakhouse, famed for the social media phenomenon of Salt Bae.

The group including Singapore's Temasek and GIC is still discussing the potential purchase of D.ream Group, a subsidiary of Doğuş Group, with a valuation close to $1.5bn. An announcement could come as soon as Friday.

Salt Bae’s star quality and social media presence stems from the flair, and care, with which he salts his meat. The butcher and chef whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, set up the first branch of Nusr-Et in Istanbul in 2010.

Since Mr Gökçe gained popularity through Instagram early last year, Nusr-Et has expanded further, opening restaurants in Miami and Manhattan alongside outlets in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha and a burger restaurant in Turkey.

Metric Capital, a London-based investment firm with about $2bn assets under management, is also part of the consortium in the potential deal. The investment would include around $200m of equity according to two people familiar with the deal, and would also involve the restaurants Coya, Zuma and Roka.

The move comes at a time when restaurants have been under pressure with profits dwindling. But people close to the deal said these restaurants are seen as luxury chains on a par with brands like Gucci and LVMH.

"This is the key rationale for the transaction," a person familiar with the possible deal said, adding that over the last two years the businesses have continued to grow in contrast with many high-street brands. Figures seen by the Financial Times show that Zuma and peers like Nobu were able to weather the downturn a decade ago.

Turkish-owned Doğuş has reportedly been planning an IPO but people close to the transaction said this is now expected in two to three years.

Temasek declined to comment on market speculation. GIC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Metric Capital declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Cat Rutter Pooley

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