Stonegate acquires 13 Living Room sites

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Living room, Brand

Stonegate chair Ian Payne wants to double the size of its Slug & Lettuce estate
Stonegate chair Ian Payne wants to double the size of its Slug & Lettuce estate
Stonegate Pub Company, the managed operator backed by TDR Capital, has completed the acquisition of 13 Living Room sites from Premium Bars & Restaurants (PBR) in a deal thought to be valued at around £10m.

Stonegate has not commented on its plans for the Living Room estate, but it is thought that the company may look to convert some of the sites to its Slug & Lettuce brand.

Toby Smith, chief executive of Stonegate, said: “We are delighted to have acquired the Living Room business and are looking forward to working with the current team to operate what are undoubtedly some of the finest sites in the UK.”

The transaction is in addition to the recent acquisitions by Stonegate of the Queens Head in Frodsham, Cheshire and a new larger site for the Slug & Lettuce brand in the O2 Greenwich arena.

In June, the Ian Payne-chaired group announced plans to nearly double the size of its Slug & Lettuce estate and it is believed to have earmarked a further 65 sites for the brand across the UK.

Significant interest

Slug and Lettuce currently operates 72 sites, having experienced three years of double-digit like-for-like sales growth.

Earlier this year, PBR, the owner of the Ultimate Leisure nightclub business, appointed advisers to explore options for Living Room, including a possible sale, after receiving several approaches from funds interested in investing in or purchasing a stake in the bar and restaurant brand.

The group appointed Zolfo Cooper Corporate Finance to explore options for the business after significant interest was also shown in the 13 former Ultimate Leisure sites, which were placed on the market earlier this year.

It is thought that Living Room, which has been managed by Eclectic Clubs & Bars since August last year, has seen strong trading on the back of a raft of new initiatives. Its estate includes sites in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Bristol.

PBR announced a successful refinancing in February, which saw debt reduced from £63.1m down to £20m, as well as the strategic decision to market some of its Ultimate Leisure sites for sale, with a view to re-investing a proportion of the released capital back into the business.

Living Room was founded by Tim Bacon in 1999 and became an iconic brand, with its original Manchester site frequented by footballers and other celebrities. The business was bought by Ultimate Leisure in 2007 for £28m. Orchid took over the management of the business in 2009.

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