Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire has collapsed as administrators have been called in.
The news could leave a reported 1,000 jobs at risk as the television personality's portfolio of eateries includes 23 Jamie's Italian outlets, plus the Fifteen and Barbecoa brands.
In a statement about the news, Oliver said he was 'deeply saddened'.
He said: "I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade. I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.
"I would also like to thank all the customers who have enjoyed and supported us over the last decade, it's been a real pleasure serving you.
"We launched Jamie's Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK high street, with great value and much higher quality ingredients, best in class animal welfare standards and an amazing team who shared my passion for great food and service. And we did exactly that."
It's been known for some time that the 43-year-old's business has been struggling. Last summer it was revealed that the chef had shut 12 of the chain's 37 restaurants and made about 600 staff redundant.
Speaking to The Financial Times, he said: "We had simply run out of cash. And we hadn't expected it. That is just not normal, in any business. You have quarterly meetings. You do board meetings. People supposed to manage that stuff should manage that stuff."
In 2017 Oliver had a reported net worth of £150m and used £7.5m of his own money to fund Jamie's Italian, injecting a further £5.2m to keep it afloat.
However, the business continued to struggle and racked up debts of £71.5m.
At the time, Oliver said his business came within hours of closing for good. He said: "I had two hours to put money in and save it or the whole thing would go to shit that day or the next day. It was as bad as that and as dramatic as that."
The businesses had to be saved by a rescue plan, involving £37m in loans from HSBC.
Speaking about the troubles almost a year later, the 'naked chef' claimed he didn't know how it happened.
He said: "I honestly don't know. We're still trying to work it out, but I think that the senior management we had in place were trying to manage what they would call the perfect storm: rents, rates, the high street declining, food costs, Brexit, increase in the minimum wage. There was a lot going on."
According to reports, KPMG has been appointed as administrator.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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