Chris Corbin and Jeremy King (pictured left and right) won major victories over both their insurance company and their majority shareholder in the High Court this week in the latest twists in a series of long-running legal and financial battles for their Corbin & King operation, owner of eight London restaurants including the Wolseley in Mayfair and Brasserie Zedel off Piccadilly Circus.
Two of the court rulings found in their favour against Thai-based hospitality group Minor International, paving the way for a rescue package which allows C&K to repay loans worth £34m, using funds provided by Knighthead Capital of the US. Minor had called in two loans saying C&K was unable to meet its obligations, and applied to the High Court to prevent their repayment on grounds that the new funding from Knighthead was arranged secretly, in contravention of its shareholder agreements with C&K.
Minor owns 74% of C&K shares, but the two companies have had a major falling out over long-term strategy, with Minor wanting to roll out The Wolseley as a global brand in cities around the world. C&K would prefer to focus on expansion in London, and have a clutch of individually named restaurants lined up for opening in the next 18 months.
The third court ruling upheld C&K’s insurance claim against Axa worth £4.36 million to cover business interruption losses as a result of the pandemic – setting a precedent that is expected to benefit other hospitality companies.
Jeremy King said he was delighted with the ruling: “I am not a confrontational person, but I felt the hospitality business had been badly served by insurers during the pandemic and was determined to fight for justice – not only for Corbin & King but for our industry as a whole.”