The bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien is close to collapse as it races to find a buyer for its UK operations, putting 500 more high street jobs at risk.
Sky News has learnt that the Belgian-owned company could appoint administrators as soon as this week.
An emergency sale process for the business, which trades from 26 sites in Britain, has set a deadline of Wednesday for offers.
Alvarez & Marsal, the professional services firm, is overseeing the auction and is likely to be appointed as administrator unless a solvent sale is concluded in the coming days, insiders said on Monday.
One potential bidder said a pre-pack administration was the likeliest outcome.
If it does collapse, Le Pain Quotidien would join Carluccio’s on the coronavirus casualty list, with the closure of restaurant sites having accelerated the financial pain being felt by companies across the leisure sector.
Byron, the burger chain, has brought in KPMG to handle a review of its options.
The Le Pain Quotidien chain in the UK is run by Adrian Johnson, a former executive at EAT and Patisserie Valerie.
Sources said the sale process was being run under the code-name Project Sunburst.
A&M declined to comment.
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