Richard Caring enters fight for control of Corbin & King: Serial sector investor Richard Caring is in talks over a possible acquisition of Corbin & King, the London-based restaurant group behind the Wolseley in Piccadilly. Corbin & King went into administration last week after a falling out between its management team, led by co-founder Jeremy King, and its majority shareholder, the Thai hotel giant Minor International. King has accused Minor of trying to “seize control of the company” and said it was “under siege”. King wants to buy back his company with finance from an American investment fund, Knighthead Capital, which has offered to repay £38m of loans provided by Minor during the pandemic. However, the Sunday Times reports that Minor and administrators from the restructuring firm FRP Advisory are said to have received 35 to 40 expressions of interest. An early frontrunner is Caring, who is understood to have been contacted by Minor prior to the administration. Minor is said to view Caring as one of the few people who could deal with Corbin & King’s landlords, including the Russian-born Belgian oligarch Vladimir Zemtsov, who has been in dispute with the company over rent payments for the Wolseley. One of Caring’s representatives met Minor late last week and Caring himself is expected to speak to the Thai investor early this week. The tycoon is understood to be interested in adding trophy London sites such as the Wolseley, as well as its other restaurants such as the Delaunay, Brasserie Zédel and Fischer’s. However, he is said to be wary about the level of emotion swirling around Corbin & King’s administration and the war of words developing between King and Minor. One source close to the situation suggested that Caring could try to keep King involved in some capacity. But another source said King was unlikely to accept, adding pointedly: “There’s a difference between a restaurateur and a restaurant owner. Restaurant owners run businesses from the boardroom and restaurateurs run them from the restaurant floor.” Caring is understood to think the restaurants could be run more ambitiously and could make more money. That has never been the founders’ main goal: King is said to have fallen out with Minor over the Thai investor’s desire to franchise the Wolseley in Saudi Arabia. King is said to be “phlegmatic”. A sector source said: “Even if it is taken away from him, he will start again.”

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