Max Brenner saved from liquidation
LUXURY chocolate chain Max Brenner has been thrown a lifeline at the last minute.
The ailing brand - which went into voluntary administration earlier this month - has been rescued from liquidation by investment office Tozer & Co.
The firm which is operated by brothers David and Craig Tozer, struck a deal last night to acquire the licence for Max Brenner's Australian business.
It's understood a deal was struck last night to scoop the business out of liquidation and stabilise the chain's remaining 17 stores.
The future of the last remaining Max Brenner cafes was still unclear just a few hours ago after the owners of the business halted the Australian licensing agreement and called in liquidators to the operation on Wednesday.
"In conjunction with the franchisor, we are excited by the prospect of investing, growing and developing a highly successful business," David Tozer said Tozer & Co told Fairfax.
"The brand has a rich history across the world and also within Australia."
The company says it will keep the restaurants open and trading as usual as it seek to finalise a transaction over the coming months.
A costly renovation of the company's head office in Alexandria, Sydney, reportedly caused major financial pain - reports suggested the company stopped paying staff superannuation for the last half of 2016.
The Max Brenner brand began in Israel as a small chain of chocolate shops. Founders Tom and Lilly Haikin the expanded the business to Australia, opening their first cafe in Sydney's Paddington in 1999.
The pair, who made BRW's Young Rich list in 2013 with a fortune of $40 million, branched out across the country soon after.
The chain's success saw it spread as far as the US, Japan, Singapore, Russia and China.
Nine stores remain open in NSW, four in Victoria, three in Queensland and one in the ACT.
Tozer & Co is in charge of a range of assets including technology, consumer products and financial service. It is also the local Australian affiliate of Carlyle special situations.
Craig Tozer is on the board of Craveable Brands which operates franchises Red Rooster, Oporto and Chicken Treat and is the current chief executive of Oporto.
- more to come