Administrators hopeful of securing buyer for hotel group Maypole

The administrators of hotel and pub chain Maypole Group have entered 'advanced negotiations' with a potential buyer.

Simon Bower and Bruce Mackay, partners at Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery, were appointed administrators at Maypole in October after the company was unable to repay loans to Clydesdale Bank following the economic downturn and increasing costs.

But Baker Tilly yesterday confirmed it was in talks with a possible purchaser of all the group's trade and assets.

Maypole Group, which employs 201 including seasonal staff, was founded in November 2003 with the intention of being a vehicle to acquire between 15 and 20 UK countryside hotels with restaurants or pubs attached.

Based at Wayford Bridge, near Stalham, the company built up a portfolio of five historic hotels, pubs and inns in Norfolk and Suffolk, and a sixth in Wiltshire, all of which continue to trade as normal while a buyer or buyers are sought.

They include the Lifeboat Inn and Old Coach House, both in Thornham, north Norfolk, the 15-bed Wayford Bridge Hotel, near Stalham, the Bridge Inn at Acle and the Angel Hotel in Lavenham, Suffolk.

Simon Bower said: 'In the interests of confidentiality it is not appropriate for the joint administrators to identify or discuss any interested parties involved in the potential sale. However, we are pleased to report that discussions are progressing well and we are hopeful of concluding a deal in the near future.

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'We continue to be encouraged by the loyal support of staff and customers and look forward to making a further announcement in due course.'

Earlier unconfirmed reports suggested celebrity chef Marco Pierre White had been among 20 parties interested in acquiring the comp-any's assets.