The Wolseley owners to open new hotel and restaurant after £21m investment


London-based Rex Restaurants Associates has received £21m investment from mid-market private equity specialists

Rex, which was set up by Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, receives the funds from Graphite Capital as it invests in a new restaurant, a luxury hotel and the acquisition of further prime sites.

The group will open Brasserie Zédel in the Crown Estate’s Quadrant redevelopment near to Piccadilly Circus in June, which will feature a Parisian brasserie and an American bar. Rex also plans to open another brasserie of the site of the former Oriel café in Sloane Square in September.

Rex is also currently developing a five-star boutique hotel in partnership with the Grosvenor Estate on Balderton Street in Mayfair. The hotel, which will be called The Beaumont, is due to open in 2014.

King, the chief executive officer of Rex, said: “We are delighted to receive the support of Graphite, whose knowledge and experience of the leisure and property sectors will be invaluable to Rex, as we embark on the next exciting phase of our development.”

Corbin and King introduced the all-day dining European Grand Café concept to London with The Wolseley restaurant on Piccadilly in 2003, which the group claims has one of the highest turnovers of any single restaurant in the country.

But in terms of revenue, the pair believe The Delaunay, located on the corner of Aldwych and Drury Lane, has been their most successful restaurant opening to date.

King and Corbin are also behind popular London restaurants such as The Ivy, Le Caprice and J Sheekey – which they sold in 2003.
Andy Gray, senior partner at Berkeley Square-based Graphite Capital, said: “With a highly experienced and respected management team, in a sector where we have achieved considerable success, Rex perfectly meets Graphite’s key investment criteria.

He added: “Arguably the best restaurateurs of their generation, Corbin and King have particularly impressed us with their visionary approach and their attention to detail.”

Graphite Capital has made more than 100 investments since 1991 and currently has £1.2bn of funds under its management. Its most recent fund raised £475m from 39 institutional investors in May 2007.

The private equity investor has been involved in backing Japanese-themed restaurants Wagamama and arts members’ club The Groucho Club.