Corbin & King has taken steps to protect itself in a battle with major shareholder Minor Hotels, which has been accused of trying to seize control of the group from founder Jeremy King in an ongoing disagreement about the group's direction.
The company, which was founded by King and business partner Chris Corbin and operates nine standalone restaurants including the Wolseley, the Delaunay, Brasserie Zedel and Colbert, has made filings with the High Court to demonstrate its solvency.
Thai-based Minor, which acquired its holding in 2017 with a £58m investment, has said £38m of loans and loan guarantees have been in default since May 2020, with "repeated" offers to recapitalise rejected.
The Caterer understands a significant portion of this money relates to the company's initial purchase consideration, which has been called in by Minor.
King said: "Other than this artificial calling in of a loan, Corbin & King is very much solvent, trading extremely well and is being hindered rather than helped by Minor in their attempt to gain control of the company in order to get their own way."
In November, King said relations between the two parties had deteriorated over differences in opinion of what course of action to take through the pandemic. It's understood the restaurateur put forward a proposition to buy the business back from Minor and had a new investor ready to come onboard, but that this was rejected.
Minor International has said: "Minor International is aware of the protection measure filed and is addressing this through the appropriate channels."
It continued: "As the majority shareholder in Corbin & King Limited – which has been severely affected by the Covid-19 crisis and is facing considerable liquidity constraints – we have provided £38m worth of direct loans and loan guarantees. These loans have been in default since May 2020. We have repeatedly offered terms to recapitalise the company, but regrettably these have been rejected.
"We are confident that with financial support and a sound business model, Corbin & King Limited will not only survive but thrive in the post-pandemic environment."
Minor hotels purchased most of its stake in 2017 from private equity firm Graphite Capital, which had invested £21m in the company five years previously.
All Corbin & King restaurants remain open and continue to trade.
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