Restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, perhaps best known for owning iconic London dining spot The Wolseley, appear to be embroiled in a battle with their company’s largest shareholder amid reports that Corbin & King has gone into administration. Could £38m from a US hedge fund be the answer?
The American investment firm Knighthead Capital Management has notified Corbin & King that it is prepared to refinance all loans outstanding to the company’s largest shareholder, Minor International.
The news came after reports surfaced that The Wolseley’s owners had been forced into administration by Minor, amid a long-running battle for control of the company.
Minor said that Corbin & King has been “unable to meet its financial obligations,” and after Corbin & King rejected proposals to re-capitalise the company, it was left with “no other viable option than to appoint administrators”.
Jeremy King issued a bullish statement in the wake of the news. “There is absolutely no need to go into administration… It is a power play for the holding company,” he said. “The irony is that it is Minor who have been in financial trouble. Not me.”
Minor International rejected the claims, stating, “Contrary to the picture that Mr King is trying to paint, the business is insolvent”.
The relationship between Mr King and Minor could perhaps be described as fractious at best. My King told the Financial Times (FT) that Corbin & King was trading “extremely well”.
Sky News reports that Knighthead Capital Management has appointed investment bank PJT Partners to “advise on its interest in the business”.
The FT stated that this is the second time Corbin & King has discussed financial backing from Knighthead.
Corbin and King is also attempting to sue Axa to cover losses it sustained during the rolling lockdowns that forced the UK’s hospitality industry to shutter its doors several times during the pandemic.
At the time of writing, it was unclear whether FRP Advisory, who were called in as administrators by Minor International, would engage with Knighthead.