The London restaurant tycoon behind Sexy Fish and the Ivy, Richard Caring (nee Caringi) has pulled out of a bid to take over restaurant-group-under-siege, Corbin and King.
The Sunday Times reported that Caring has “withdrawn from the battle for control” of the restaurant group which includes the Wolseley, Brasserie Zedel, the Delaunay, Fischer’s, Colbert, and Soutine. It follows developments reported last week, 31 January, that Caring was scheduled to meet with the investment fund and majority shareholder, Minor, which is locked in a very public dispute with minority shareholders and operations chiefs, Jeremy King and Chris Corbin. Its other interests in London include Mayfair restaurant Zuma and the theatrical Benihana.
Caring is reported to have told the Sunday Times: “at this moment, I am not intending to pursue” the deal.
The dispute between Corbin and King and Minor escalated in public at the end of January, and resulted in Minor placing the restaurants’s holding company into administration. In a statement, it emphasised that “the appointment of administrators does not affect the operations of the restaurants within the Group, which continue to trade.” King later took to YouTube to outline how it was “business as usual” in his restaurants, having earlier described the move by Minor as a “power play.” King has repeatedly said that he and business partner Chris Corbin planned to “buy back” the holding company out of administration.
The Times also reports that King is planning that buy back with finance from US investment fund Knighthead Capital, “which has offered to repay £38 million of debt owed to Minor.” The matter has reached the High Court, where each side has formally presented its disagreement.
On top of unregistering his interest in taking advantage of the group’s public battle and apparent vulnerability, Caring praised his rival restaurateurs, King and Corbin: “They’re the guys that actually started this whole image and impression of hospitality in London.”
While their past and present are glittering, the future remains uncertain. More soon.