Stuart Young, the ex-managing director of Principle Leisure, the Tyne & Wear-based bar and restaurant operator, is thought to be interested in acquiring the majority of the business out of administration, M&C Report has learnt. Principle Leisure, which operates one freehold and eight leasehold sites in the North East, fell into administration in March. Its portfolio includes the River Bar & Flume Restaurant in Washington, the San Lorenzo Restaurants in Cramlington and Gosforth, and the Popolo-branded venues in Newcastle and Sheffield. Young, who is thought to have stepped down from the company in September, is believed to have set up a new vehicle to acquire some or all of the estate. Ladhar Group, the North Shields-based pub group and care home operator led by Baldev Ladhar, was understood to have been poised to acquire the business earlier this year. Administrators Begbies Traynor, which appointed Christie + Co advise on the sale of the business, said that Principle fell into administration after encountering cash flow difficulties due to the opening and refurbishment of several new outlets and the general downturn in the licensed sector, resulting in tax arrears being accrued. It also said that the company’s management structure was weakened by the illness and passing of director Joseph Peel.

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