Private equity owners of the Byron hamburger chain are preparing to place the company in administration in hopes of attracting a bidder to purchase 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 received any offers to buy the chain of 51 restaurants in continuity. However, the source said that three parties had expressed interest in buying 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 people employed are unlikely to continue to follow the administration.
The chain and its owners are confident that a prepackage sale could be held 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 the administration. Last year, the company posted sales of £ 70.9 million, with gross profit of £ 31.6 million.
Earlier this month, the Restaurant group, which owns Frankie & Benny and Garfunkel, announced that it will close nearly 120 restaurants with nearly 3,000 job cuts.
The Casual Dining Group, which owns Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia, warned last month that it may have to call directors. The group is in discussions with several potential buyers.