Burger chain Byron is scrambling to find a buyer who can stave off impending financial collapse, save 1,200 jobs, and reopen its 52 restaurants in the UK by mid-next month.
The company has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, in an attempt to protect it from creditors during talks with potential buyers.
Sources confirmed that directors at the company remain hopeful that it can be sold as a “going concern,” with three potential buyers looking at the business.
These potential buyers are in the mix to buy the firm in its entirety, or cherry-pick parts of it that they want to take over, in a pre-pack administration.
This would involve finding a buyer, and then appointing administrators to sell the firm, or the parts of the firm, to them.
KPMG has been lined up to handle the process. The accountancy giant has been looking to sell Byron since early May, but has not succeeded thus far.
The notice to appoint administrators was first reported by Sky News.
A source said that one option for an investor was to buy the Byron brand and retain parts of the business, but downsize the overall operation.
That would likely result in job losses and the closure of some restaurants.
However, they added, the company is still hoping for a phased reopening from mid-July in some form.
Almost all of Byron Burger’s 1,200 workers have been furloughed since the lockdown was imposed in March.
The filing of the notice to appoint administrators buys the company some time while a sale is prepared, giving it legal protection from creditors.
In 2018, Byron agreed to a restructuring process handled by KPMG, after several years of poor trading.
Then, investment house Three Hills Capital Partners became its majority shareholder. It is unclear what part they will play in the company after the impending sale.
Byron is just the latest restaurant chain to buckle under the pressure of the coronavirus crisis, after Cafe Rouge owner Casual Dining Group filed a similar notice to appoint administrators in May.
A spokesperson for Byron declined to comment.