The Sunday Telegraph
Spearmint Rhino, the controversial chain of lap-dancing clubs, is drawing up plans to float on the London Stock Exchange, a listing which could value the firm at up to £200m. The group has 31 clubs in the US and six in Britain - in London, Birmingham, Slough, Uxbridge, Bournemouth and Harrogate. Founder and major shareholder John Gray plans to appoint brokers in the New Year.
The Sunday Times
Terence Conran, founder and head of Britain's largest private restaurant group, will announce tomorrow (Monday, December 10) that he is expanding his Zinc bar concept. A new venue will open next year in Glasgow's Princes Square shopping complex.
There was a sharp increase last month in the number of companies in difficulties. The Sunday Times agony index showed a rise of 21.6 per cent from October to November. The conclusion was reached by monitoring redundancies, profit warnings, weak trading statements, and cutbacks from a database of 100,000 firms.
Merger and Acquisition activity in Britain has dropped 72 per cent to £154bn but the market has bottomed out says a report by KPMG.
Brian Stewart has led top UK brewer Scottish & Newcastle through two tough decades, but he must act boldly if he is to ensure Britain can continue to boast its own genuine international brewer. The deal many analysts would like to see the company pursue is a merger with SAB and US brewer Miller. Other rumours suggest it could merge its pub interests with those of Six Continents and then float the seperate division. Mr Stewart is unlikely to do this until he has found a brewing business on which to lavish the proceeds.
The investor column turns its attention to Inventive Leisure, which looks set to deliver impressive growth over the next few years. The groups owns and operates 32 licensed bars and nightclubs in the UK. Its primary focus is the Revolution brand, the vodka-themed bars. With 10 sites planned for next year and 15 under consideration, there is plenty of room for growth and investors should set a target of 210p for the shares, which are currently priced at 176p.
Six Continents was not pulling its punches in last week's results briefing. It gave so much information on bookings and revpar (revenue per room - the standard measure in the hotel industry) that anyone looking for a discounted room will know just how desperate they are for bodies in beds. A hotel business in the doldrums focuses attention on its bars business - the company has 350 outlets that generate more than £20,000 a week. But it is a mature business in decline. Like-for-likes fell 0.5 per cent and overall sales rose by 0.9 per cent, and there is talk of selling or demerging the division.
A comment piece asks if Allied Domecq is the victim of bad karma or bad management. The company experienced troubles in the early nineties and is in trouble once more. Former chief executive Tony Hales is suing the company for £2m, key North American chief Todd Martin is leaving after a series of boardroom rows over strategy, and the company is likely to see Captain Morgan rum slip through its fingers in an ownership battle with Diageo.
The Independent on Sunday
Carlton and Granada, the shareholders in ITV Digital, have proposed a three-tier deal to the BBC and BSkyB which they hope will secure the future of their troubled TV digital venture. The plan will offer three types of service, one free, one midpriced and one consisting of premium services, the sport and film channels, at £40 a month. ITV Digital is vigorously pushing its sports packages into pubs, which are seen as one of the main growth-drivers for the business.
The Mail on Sunday
No industry-related news