Food & Drink Group, the embattled owner of Henry J Beans, has been forced to sell more than half its estate for almost nothing.
The group, which called in administrators BDO Stoy Hayward yesterday, has sold 17 of its 31 bars to Mainpaint, a company backed by private equity by NGBI.
The sale price is not expected to result in any return for shareholders as Food & Drink Group.
Food & Drink Group said in a statement: “The group has been facing the most challenging economic conditions for decades which has reduced operational performance and has restricted investment in the group's brands.
“These conditions have prevented the group raising the further financing it needed. The sale of the business has secured the jobs of 300 of the group's employees.”
Joint administrator Shay Bannon, added: “A reduction in the amount of disposable income as a result of the current economic climate has played a role in the group's difficulties.
“Securing a going concern sale of the business, which will protect 300 jobs, is positive news for the employees and the industry as a whole.”
The group, which owns 31 bars as well as the Jamies wine bar chain, suspended trading in its shares back in June after struggling throughout 2008.
By Christopher Walton
E-mail your comments to Christopher Walton here.