Wolseley owner Corbin & King offered £38m reprieve from American fund after debt row left it in administration

A tug of war between financiers and the owner of some of London’s most famous restaurants took an interesting turn on Wednesday after an American fund stepped in with an £38m offer.

Corbin & King, which operates celebrity hotspots such as The Wolseley, in Mayfair, was forced into administration this week by its biggest shareholder and lender, Minor Hotels.

As tensions rose, Minor accused Corbin & King of failing to meet its financial obligations and called in the administrators. Its restaurants are continuing to trade.

Dillip Rajakarier, Minor’s group CEO, accused co-founder Jeremy King of refusing offers to put the company “on a strong financial standing” and said: “Contrary to the picture that Mr King is trying to paint, the business is insolvent and is in strong need of further financial support.”

With Minor calling in loans, the situation looked perilous for the group until Knighthead Capital Management notified administrators it is prepared to refinance the debt, Sky News reported.

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The group’s restaurants, which also include haunts such as Colbert, The Delaunay, and Brasserie Zedel, are among the most celebrated in the capital.

It expanded outside London for the first time in 2018 with the launch of Café Wolseley at Bicester Village in Oxfordshire.

Relations between Jeremy King, who co-founded Corbin & King with Chris Corbin, and Minor executives has been reportedly fractious for some time.

Mr King told i after news of the administration broke: “There is absolutely no need to go into administration – we are trading extremely well and all suppliers, staff etc. continue to be paid.

“It is a power play for the holding company – and we plan to buy it out of administration”.

Mr King has been a vocal spokesman in the industry throughout the pandemic, with many of the group’s city centre restaurants being particularly hard hit by lockdowns and restrictions.

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