APPRENTICE star and Amstrad founder Lord Sugar has joined with the Issa Brothers' bid to take control of Caffe Nero.

The Blackburn-born billionaires are currently funding an attempt by Caffe Nero's landlords to block the coffee chain's insolvency arrangements, which would see them lose outstanding rent payments.

The brothers are funding the challenge in order to leave the chain with no other option but to sell itself to EG Group, while Lord Sugar's company is believed to have filed its involvement in the challenge on Christmas Eve.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Lord Sugar is now supporting the Issa Brothers' bid

A Caffe Nero spokesperson said: "We intend to defend the challenge vigorously.

"In the meantime, we remain focussed on managing the business through the current Covid-19 enforced trading restrictions, and re-growing our sales in the months and years ahead."

Lord Sugar's representatives have not issued a statement on the matter but have confirmed the Amstrad founder's involvement in the bid.

EG Group, owned by the Mohsin and Zuber Issa, first expressed an interest in the popular coffee outlet, which employs around 5,000 people across the UK and has branches in Clitheroe and Preston, earlier this month only to find their offer rejected by founder Jerry Ford, who instead opted for insolvency.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Caffe Nero

Under the current plans, Caffe Nero's rents are set to be slashed as part of a company voluntary arrangement agreed as part of the insolvency process.

However, such arrangements are controversial as landlords to the coffee chain’s outlets are set to lose much of their outstanding rent if this were to proceed.

In response the Issa Brothers and their backers, now including Lord Sugar, hope that by backing landlords' legal challenge to this process, the entire insolvency process can be derailed allowing the chain to be taken over by EG Group.

The landlords to the chain's outlets are largely smaller property holders and as such this backing will come as a significant boost.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Mohsin and Zuber Issa

A Caffe Nero spokesperson said: "We still firmly believe the terms of the company voluntary arrangement, which passed with over 90 per cent support, are in the best interests of all our creditors and we will openly engage with any landlord who wishes to discuss it further."

EG Group has declined to comment but has previously said that, despite its previous bid having been rejected, it would be the perfect owner for Caffe Nero.