In a hearing held yesterday (15 February), a subsidiary of Thai hotel operator Minor International – the restaurant group’s majority shareholder – attempted to block it from repaying debt to the Thai company, after Minor sought to call it in, according to the paper.
Minor wanted £34m in the repayment of loans within 24-hours as part of a long-running dispute, which saw administrators appointed to Corbin & King last month.
MI Squared are attempting to stop Corbin & King’s co-founders Jeremy King and Chris Corbin from accepting financial backing from Knighthead Capital in order to repay the debt to Minor, claiming it breached their shareholder agreement.
Justice Foxton said he was “not persuaded” to grant the injunction and would set out his reasoning in a ruling today, according to the paper.
FFP Recovery, the administrator to Corbin & King, says there have been as many as 30 expressions of interest for the entire business. Restaurateur Richard Caring had reportedly been interested in the business but has since said that he does not intend to pursue a deal.
Commenting on the latest development, Marion Walsh-Hédouin, vice president at Minor Hotels Group, said: “Minor International has had serious concerns, prior to the onset of the pandemic, over the way Corbin & King is run at the operational level by Mr King. However, the relationship broke down irretrievably when Mr King filed a concocted petition in April 2021 seeking to force Minor International to sell its 74% shareholding in the business.
“Minor International appears to be only the latest in a long line of investors to fall out with Mr King, who has shown a willingness to engage in legally questionable behaviour to achieve his ends.
“This judgement resolves nothing. It is clearly not in the interests of the wider business – it does no more than kick the can down the road by replacing one secured creditor with another directly aligned with Mr King and offers no demonstrable improvement to the current dire situation of the business. As today’s evidence showed, Mr King accepts that Corbin & King is insolvent and in need of strong financial support to secure its future, something Minor International has always been prepared and repeatedly offered to provide.
“It is regrettable that we now find ourselves in a highly complex situation that serves no one’s best interests. However, Minor remains the majority shareholder of the business and will continue to work tirelessly to find a solution to best protect the interests of all stakeholders in Corbin & King.”