Richard Caring is understood to be circling embattled restaurant group Corbin & King with a view to snapping up its prime assets, led by the Wolseley and the Delaunay. Corbin & King, which owns seven restaurants in London, went into administration last week when its main investor, Thai hotel giant Minor International, said it was unable to meet its financial obligations.
Jeremy King has vowed to buy the company he built with Chris Corbin out of administration, and is in talks with potential US-based Knighthead Capital. He says C&K traded profitably in 2021 and that it is Minor which is in financial mire, losing millions of pounds a month on a hotel chain acquisition it completed shortly before the pandemic.
The administrator, FRP Advisory, is reported in The Times to have received as many as 40 expressions of interest in C&K, with Caring believed to have met with Minor this week. Caring now owns the Caprice group including the Ivy, founded by C&K in 1990, which he has spun out into a chain – which is exactly what Minor wanted C&K to do, against Corbin’s wishes, and what C&K’s many admirers fear.
The writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry spoke for many when he tweeted: “The reason they’re so successful is the meticulous attention founders Corbin & King give, every day. Last thing they need is a brutal financial move to take over and cheapen the brand.”
Corbin expects the siege to be resolved within a month. Meanwhile, C&K’s restaurants are open for business as usual.