Tom Aikens, the high-end chef, has walked away from a deal to buy six sites from Paramount Restaurants.
Aikens was initially poised to strike a deal in July this year, but for reasons unknown has retracted his offer to purchase the leasehold of the six London restaurants.
BigHospitality understands that the entrepreneur had the required funding in place through Oakley Capital but may have had second thoughts on the deal, given the executional risk of taking on so many new venues in one go. He had planned to re-launch the venues as accessible casual dining restaurants in line with his Tom’s Kitchen offer in Chelsea and at Somerset House in central London.
Aikens and Oakley has been prepared to pay up to £3m in premiums for the locations before aborting the deal.
The sites are located in central London, with four in the West End – Charlotte Street, Floral Street, Frith Street and St Martin’s Lane – and two in the City, at Mincing Lane and Plough Place.
The properties have now been re-marketed for sale by Christie & Co, with apparent strong interest for all.
Paramount is selling the 37 sites, which trade under an array of brands such as Chez Gerard, Live Bait and Caffe Uno at the behest of its banks, a move that prompted the resignation of chief executive Mark Phillips and chairman Sir David Michels.
Deals have been agreed on a number of the properties, including 11 sold to Prezzo and two sold to Tasty.
Oakley led a refinancing of Aikens’s business two years ago, when the chef’s company underwent a pre-pack administration. The move attracted criticism as it is thought the process left some suppliers exposed to heavy losses. The move saw Aikens jettison a failed casual dining concept in Kensington called Tom’s Place.
The chef, who trained with Pierre Koffman and then at the two-Michelin-starred London restaurant Pied a Terre, rose to prominence at his own eponymous eaterie in Chelsea.
Mark Stretton is editor of BigHospitality's sister publication, M&C Report.