Reports that Encore Capital has acquired vegetarian restaurant group Mildreds has been denied by both parties.

Encore Capital, which led a £2m investment in Detox Kitchen in 2016, was reported to have acquired Mildreds for an “undisclosed multimillion-pound sum” by someone purporting to represent Mildreds.

Mildreds co-founder Jane Muir and Encore Capital both told MCA the information in the note was incorrect, and emphasised it did not come from Mildreds.

However the original source of the rerport last night doubled down on the claim, writing to Muir: ”It is disingenuous for you to imply the sale of Mildreds is not happening… It is unfair to the staff and your customers that you wish to keep the news quiet.

”The information passed onto me is correct. A number of staff members are aware of the sale. It is only fair, at the very least, that you inform your loyal staff who have given you years of service. I hope you do the decent thing.”

The tip-off, which was presented as a press release to journalists, was signed off by Gemma Atkins, though this is understood to be an alias. 

Encore Capital partner Khilan Dodhia told MCA: “As you may appreciate we talk to a number of businesses in the consumer sector and our policy is to not comment on anything outside of our portfolio companies.”

Muir added: “I don’t know who sent you the note but you were misinformed.”

Encore specialises in providing £1m to £10m in equity finance to established companies looking to grow.

Following its investment in The Detox Kitchen, plans were announced to expand to up to ten sites in the next three years, with a focus on London – though there are only two sites operational.

Encore also has investments in Third Space, a luxury London health club, and Another Space, a premium boutique fitness studio.

Mildreds was founded in Soho’s Greek Street in 1988 by Diane Thomas and Jane Muir and is credited with reinventing vegetarian food.

It has four sites and most recently opened in Dalston.