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The eating group behind a few of London’s most acclaimed eating places, together with Gymkhana and Sabor, has raised funds to cowl the prices of shopping for out a former enterprise associate associated to a controversial financier.
JKS Eating places — which operates 21 websites throughout London together with 5 Michelin-starred eating places — will partly use the proceeds to cowl the expense of shopping for out Ahsan Naqvi from the enterprise earlier this yr, in keeping with three folks accustomed to the state of affairs. Naqvi is the son of the founding father of failed personal fairness agency Abraaj.
JKS additionally plans to increase its portfolio of eating places and bars into extra worldwide markets, following the launch of a Riyadh outpost of Gymkhana in June and a restaurant in Dubai final month.
It has tapped a consortium of rich people, household workplaces and celebrities for particular person investments of greater than £250,000, mentioned three folks accustomed to the matter. The funding spherical, which has raised within the area of £10mn, closed in current weeks, two folks added.
Naqvi resigned as a director of the holding firm behind JKS on Could 5 this yr, in keeping with filings on Corporations Home. On the identical day, the group created a brand new holding firm registered in London, shifting its headquarters from the Cayman Islands, in keeping with the filings.
Naqvi can also be answerable for operating Axil Advisers, a Mayfair-based firm listed as a creditor to Abraaj’s UK entity in a 2019 submitting made at Corporations Home, the UK company registry. Although he as soon as labored as a junior analyst at Abraaj, this was not whereas he was concerned in JKS, the restaurant group mentioned.
He first invested within the restaurant group in 2017 aged 29, serving to spur JKS’s development. The group opened new high-end eating places throughout London, together with Thai informal eating chain Speedboat and Brigadiers, each of which have gained loyal followings from diners and critics alike.
Abraaj was based by Naqvi’s father, Arif Naqvi. It collapsed into liquidation in 2018 after buyers, together with the Invoice & Melinda Gates Basis, started investigating claims that the agency had misused their cash.
In 2019, the US authorities charged Arif Naqvi with a number of counts of fraud and cash laundering. The fees included allegations that he transferred cash from Abraaj accounts to family and friends. Arif Naqvi was final yr fined $135mn by the Dubai monetary regulator for deceptive buyers and is at the moment on £15mn bail awaiting extradition to the US.
A lawyer for Arif Naqvi mentioned his consumer denied accusations of wrongdoing. Ahsan Naqvi just isn’t accused of wrongdoing and declined to remark by means of a household adviser.
JKS was based in 2008 by three siblings: Jyotin, Karam and Sunaina Sethi. The identical yr, the siblings opened Indian restaurant Trishna in London’s Marylebone district.
Jyotin Sethi, a former personal fairness government, led the funding spherical, with assist from Tamweel Capital, a London-based boutique advisory agency which advises on small M&A offers.
He was the architect of the funding spherical which partly covers the fee to purchase out Ahsan Naqvi from the enterprise earlier this yr, mentioned an individual briefed on the association.
“Like all founders, [Jyotin] needs to ensure he’s received the best sort of preparations, the best sort of associate on board that may help the enterprise in its subsequent chapter,” mentioned the particular person.
A spokesperson for JKS mentioned: “There is no such thing as a connection between JKS and the Abraaj Group” and added that “Arif Naqvi has by no means been an investor in JKS, or in any other case had any reference to the enterprise”.
The group may also use cash from the funding spherical to pursue additional alternatives within the Center East, in addition to New York and Las Vegas, JKS mentioned.
Final yr, JKS generated revenues of simply over £50mn, almost double a yr earlier when the enterprise was nonetheless affected by pandemic buying and selling restrictions. However the group booked a pre-tax lack of £5.1mn final yr.
JKS mentioned it has a improvement plan to extend revenues to £100mn over the following 5 years.
The group obtained its first Michelin star when Trishna acquired the accolade in 2012. Curry restaurant Gymkhana, tapas bar Sabor and trendy British restaurant Lyle’s have since all been awarded the honour, and Kitchen Desk, which has simply 19 seats, is double Michelin-starred.