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Restaurant group negotiating to buy out Mario Batali

May 21, 2018
FILE - In this Wednesday, April 19, 2017, file photo, chef Mario Batali attends an awards event in New York. The New York Police Department is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct leveled celebrity chef Mario Batali. The NYPD confirmed the probe following a “60 Minutes” broadcast Sunday, May 20, 2018, in which an unnamed woman accused Batali of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2005. Batali issued a statement denying he assaulted the woman. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, April 19, 2017, file photo, chef Mario Batali attends an awards event in New York. The New York Police Department is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct leveled celebrity chef Mario Batali. The NYPD confirmed the probe following a “60 Minutes” broadcast Sunday, May 20, 2018, in which an unnamed woman accused Batali of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2005. Batali issued a statement denying he assaulted the woman. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The restaurant group co-owned by Mario Batali says it has been “actively negotiating” to buy out the celebrity chef facing sexual misconduct allegations.

The B&B Hospitality Group says Batali and partner Joe Bastianich have signed a letter of intent and final terms could be set by July 1.

The New York Police Department confirmed it’s investigating Batali after a woman told “60 Minutes” that Batali drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2005.

Batali denies assaulting the woman.

B&B says it had been unaware of what it calls the “chilling” and “deeply disturbing” allegations.

Batali stepped down from daily operations at his restaurant empire and cooking show in December after four women accused him of inappropriate touching.

He’s apologized for those encounters.

Batali’s representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

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