Minor International has announced it has won the battle for control over Corbin & King, effectively ousting co-founder and CEO Jeremy King.

Minor’s subsidiary MINT said it made a winning offer in the final round of bidding for the company, having already held a 74% interest and controlling board position.

King confirmed that his attempt to buy the business, with the support of Knighthead, had “regrettably failed”.

He said he assumed Minor would take control of the restaurants, adding: “It remains to be seen how the transition will be effected.” 

Minor said acquiring the company would allow it to fulfil its long term plan to invest and grow the portfolio in the UK and internationally – something King resisted for fear of diluting the brands. 

Dillip Rajakarier, group CEO of Minor International, said: “Given the global appeal of Corbin & King Limited’s iconic portfolio of brands, it is no surprise that competition for the business was so strong. We are delighted that our offer was accepted, and we can now look forward to building on the existing strong foundations to drive growth in the UK and internationally. We have exciting growth plans for the business and are delighted to embark on this journey with our outstanding employees, the company’s key stakeholders, and, of course, our valued customers.”

In a note to customers and friends, King said he was unable to give further explanation, as he was still under legal constraint.

He wrote: “The final stage of that process - an auction – took place in the early hours of today.

“We took part in the auction to try and buy the business and assets of Corbin & King that we didn’t already own, including of course all the restaurants.

“Regrettably, that attempt failed and Minor Hotel Group was the successful bidder, buying the entire business.

“As a result, I no longer have any equity interest in the business although for the time being, I remain an employee. I assume Minor will take immediate control of the restaurants.”

Minor is an operator and JV partner of a portfolio of more than 3,300 restaurants in the UK and internationally. In addition to the Corbin & King portfolio, its investments include the Patara brand of high-end Thai restaurants, Japanese steakhouse experience Benihana, and other brands such as Zuma, Trader Vics.