City centre stores saved as hamburger business sold out of administration

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The Liverpool and Manchester stores of hamburger chain Byron have been saved after the business was sold out of administration.

Will Wright and Steve Absolom from KPMG’s restructuring practice were appointed joint administrators to Byron Hamburgers today, July 31.

Founded in 2007, London-based Byron is one of the UK’s most well-known casual dining operators with 51 sites across city centres, neighbourhoods, retail and leisure centres and tourist destinations.

Following their appointment, the joint administrators sold the brands and certain assets of the company to a newco owned by Calveton UK Limited, with the company’s existing investors taking a minority stake.

The deal will allow 20 sites to continue to trade, with 551 employees transferring to the new owner.

These include the sites at the Liverpool One retail centre, and Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens.

However, a total of 31 sites which have been closed since lockdown measures were introduced in March are not included in the scope of the transaction and will not re-open.

The joint administrators have confirmed 651 staff redundancies as a result of these closures.

Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “In common with so many other companies across the leisure and casual dining industries, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Byron has been profound.

“After exploring a number of options to safeguard the future of the business and following a competitive sales process, this transaction ensures Byron will continue to have a presence on our high streets.”

Steve Absolom, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, added: “It is always a regrettable outcome when hard-working people lose their jobs, and so our focus now will be on providing those employees affected by redundancy with the support they need at this difficult time.”

Sandeep Vyas, of Calveton, said: “Byron is a pioneering brand much loved by customers across the UK.

“We are backing Byron because we believe it has great opportunity ahead of it, and it is well placed to adapt to the new consumer environment and dining trends.

“We will continue to bring Byron’s great tasting food to customers in restaurants and via digital on-demand platforms, whether they are at work, home or on the high street, and we look forward to working with the team.”

A Manchester-based team from law firm gunnercooke, led by partner Nick Ducker, acted on behalf of Calveton UK Limited.

Nick Ducker said: “These are incredibly tough and uncertain times for the whole hospitality sector and, like so many other restaurant businesses, Byron has been badly affected by the lockdown.

“Against this backdrop, we are pleased to have been able to bring together a large number of stakeholders within very tight timescales to come to an agreement that safeguards the future of the business and allows some, though sadly not all, of its employees to be kept on.”

Law firm Gateley, led by Manchester-based restructuring partner Andrew Buchanan, was legal advisor to KPMG.