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Wolseley owner sells stake to Thai-listed Minor


The restaurateurs behind landmark London venues including The Wolseley and The Delaunay will this week hand control of their company to a Bangkok-listed hotelier.

Sky News has learnt that a majority shareholding in Corbin & King, which was established in 2003, is being bought by Minor Hotels, which operates more than 150 sites around the world.

The deal, which will be announced to the Thai stock exchange on Monday by the parent company Minor International, will be one of the most prominent to involve a portfolio of top London restaurants this year.
Sources said the deal valued Corbin & King at roughly £60m and would result in Chris Corbin and Jeremy King continuing as minority investors alongside Minor.
The Thai company is buying most of its stake from Graphite Capital, a private equity firm which invested £21m in Corbin & King in 2012.
Mr King, who runs the company as its chief executive, has expanded the group to restaurant sites across the centre of the capital, with The Wolseley attracting power-breakfasting hordes of top financiers, captains of industry and eager tourists.
Opened on the site of a former car showroom on Piccadilly in 2003, the restaurant has become one of the best known in the world.

Image: Control of the company behind The Wolseley is being handed to a Thai-listed hotelier
Corbin & King has also expanded into the hotel business, opening The Beaumont just south of London’s Oxford Street in 2014.

Their business has been successful, although The Beaumont’s ‎brief history has been turbulent, with Grosvenor Estates, its landlord, taking back the lease and switching Corbin & King to a management contract.
The other restaurants in its portfolio include Colbert in Sloane Square, Fischer’s in Marylebone and Brasserie Zedel, close to Piccadilly Circus.
The company’s two founders are among the best-known names in fiercely competitive industry, making their reputations in charge of Le Caprice‎, another top West End restaurant, in the 1980s.
Minor Hotels’ investment is aimed at helping Corbin & King to identify growth opportunities in the UK and abroad, according to insiders.
The deal’s timing, however, is intriguing, because of the troubled time that many London-based restaurateurs ‎are having with both current trading and the recruitment of staff amid growing cost pressures.

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One person close to the transaction said it represented a vote of confidence by Thai-based Minor Hotels in both‎ the resilience of London’s upmarket restaurant sector and in Mr King’s management team.
A spokeswoman for Corbin & King declined to comment on Sunday.

Source: Sky

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