Private equity owners of the Byron hamburger chain are preparing to place the business in administration in the hope of attracting a bidder to buy parts of the business in a so-called prepackaging administration.
Byron, which is majority owned by Three Hills Capital Partners, on Monday filed a notice of intent to formally appoint directors, first reported by Sky News.
A source close to the company’s sales efforts said it was done to protect the company from creditors and allow potential bidders to select which parts of Byron they might want to buy.
The accounting firm KPMG has been trying to sell Byron since the beginning of May, but has not won an offer to buy the chain of 51 restaurants as part of its operation. However, the source said that three parties had expressed interest in purchasing parts of the business – such as the brand and a small number of food websites.
Byron, Three Hills and KPMG declined to comment.
Byron, which was founded by Tom Byng in 2007, employs approximately 1,200 people, the majority of whom have been put on leave as part of the coronavirus retention program. Many of the employees are unlikely to continue to follow the administration.
The chain and its owners are confident that a prepackage sale could be organized before mid-July, when it hopes to start reopening restaurants closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is not known how many Byron restaurants were profitable before the virus struck, or how many would likely remain after administration. Last year, the company posted sales of £ 70.9 million, with gross profit of £ 31.6 million.
Earlier this month, Group of restaurants, which owns Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s, said it would close up to 120 restaurants with nearly 3,000 layoffs.
Casual Dining Group, owner of Rouge and Bella Italia cafes, warned last month may have to call administrators. The group is in discussions with several potential buyers.