US investor launches new bid to take over Wolseley

A US investment fund has made a new bid for the owner of London restaurants Wolseley and Delaunay after it collapsed into administration amid a legal battle with its biggest shareholder.

Knighthead tabled a new offer for Corbin & King this week, in which it offered to refinance the entire restaurant group.

The offer is supposed to include additional cash rather than just going into debt with Minor. Sources said the latest offer would allow Corbin & King to be taken out of administration.

Knighthead, who is believed to be working with Corbin & King co-founder Jeremy King, has already made a number of offers to FRP administrators and the restaurant group’s largest shareholder, Minor International, aimed at clearing Corbin & King’s debt . He initially offered £38m to pay off his debt, although it was later understood he had improved on this.

The latest offer comes as Mr King and Minor International await a court ruling over protections put in place on Corbin & King’s individual restaurants, to prevent them from being pushed into administration as well.

Minor attempts to have the protections removed. Minor last month pushed Corbin & King into administration amid a row with Mr King, who is also the company’s chief executive.

At the time, Minor said, “Contrary to the picture Mr. King is trying to paint, the business is insolvent and in dire need of further financial support.”

Minor said he offered to pump more money into the business but was rebuffed by Mr King. Mr King claimed this was because Minor tried to use the cash offers to push him away and the company only needed financial support because Minor was asking him to repay a loan.

It sparked a war of words between the two sides, with Mr King saying the company was ‘under siege’. He argued “there is absolutely no need to go into administration” and pledged to buy it out.

Minor declined to comment. King and Knighthead did not respond to requests for comment.

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