Ultimate Leisure buys Living Room for £28m

By Hamish Champ

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Living room Board of directors

Ultimate Leisure has acquired Living Ventures - which operates the Living Room bar and restaurant brand - for £28m.Ultimate said it hoped to create...

Ultimate Leisure has acquired Living Ventures - which operates the Living Room bar and restaurant brand - for £28m.

Ultimate said it hoped to create an estate of up to 30 Living Room venues over the next five years after buying the 13-site chain.

The acquisition follows Ultimate's recent deal to buy the food-led Bel & The Dragon estate. Food represents more than a third of Living Room's total sales.

In a statement Ultimate said it was not buying the Blackhouse Grill or Est Est Est brands, which will remain with owners the Restaurant Group and other leading shareholders, including founder Tim Bacon.

It noted that in the financial year to 31st March 2007, the Living Room delivered sales of £29.2m and site EBITDA of £6.050m.

Ultimate Leisure will be taking on a number of key executives from Living Ventures, representing an associated central overhead of around £850,000 per annum. The deal represents a cost per site of £2.151m and 4.6 times unit EBITDA, it added, and is expected to be earnings enhancing in the first year of ownership.

Danny Fox, Living Room's long-standing operations director, is moving over to Ultimate Leisure as managing director of the Living Room brand, along with a number of other operations, marketing and training executives.

Mark Jones, chairman of Ultimate, said: "The Living Room is an excellent brand with a very attractive customer offer. This acquisition represents a big move towards meeting our strategic priorities and at a sensible price.

"At the same time, The Living Room will benefit from much greater investment, particularly as we look to more than double the number of its sites in the next five years".

Ultimate meanwhile announced it had appointed City firm KBC Peel Hunt as its nominated adviser and broker with immediate effect.

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