Gourmet Burger Kitchen’s South African owner is pushing ahead with a process to sell the casual dining chain, with the new owner of Byron reportedly plotting to buy the firm.
Deloitte has begun contacting prospective buyers of GBK over the past week, Sky News reported, which would make it the latest restaurant group to be sold off during the coronavirus pandemic.
The burger chain’s current owner, Famous Brands, has previously indicated it is not willing to provide any further funding in GBK.
It is not clear whether a deal would be possible on a solvent basis.
In April it was revealed that GBK had appointed Deloitte to advise on future options for the business. The firm has been in financial difficulty for several years, and closed 17 of its sites in 2018 as part of a restructuring plan.
Calverton UK, which recently bought rival burger restaurant Byron through a pre-pack administration, has expressed an interest in buying GBK, according to Sky News.
Such a deal could result in the combination of the two brands.
Only 20 of Byron’s 51 restaurants were saved from closure by the Calveton acquisition, with 651 staff to be made redundant.
The job losses added to the grim toll suffered by the UK hospitality industry during the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen firms such as Pizza Express, Pizza Hut and Burger King put thousands of roles at risk.
Further job losses are expected within the sector when the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme is closed at the end of next month.