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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 23rd Jan 2019 - Stonegate buys 32-strong Fever Bars plus six more Novus sites in London
Stonegate buys 32-strong Fever Bars plus six more Novus sites in London: Stonegate Pub Company has acquired 32-strong Fever Bars, for an undisclosed sum – and six central London Novus sites. The company stated: “Established in 2007 with its first site in Cheltenham, Fever Bars is a leading operator of 32 venues, comprising 29 bars and three Bierkeller Bavarian pubs. Located primarily in towns and cities throughout England, the business operates under a variety of trading concepts such as Fever, Boutique, Zinc and Moo Moo. Fever Bars focuses on providing its customers with an extensive drinks arrangement alongside quality entertainment. As such, the Fever Bars estate is highly complementary with Stonegate’s drinks-led and high street managed bar portfolio. All of the sites are well-invested and eight are located in towns where the group is totally unrepresented to date (i.e. Taunton, Tunbridge Wells, Basingstoke, Macclesfield, Barnstaple, Trowbridge, Fleet and Redditch). Stonegate plans to operate Fever Bars within its 90-strong Venues division, where it will complement many of the group’s existing formats in the late-night bar segment. The two founding directors of the business – Mark Shorting and Nigel Blair – will remain with the enlarged group and the operational management team will be retained. In addition, Stonegate has exchanged contracts to acquire a further six bars from Novus Leisure for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to complete in the coming months, following the assignment of the respective leases. The six sites are located in prime central London locations in the West End, the City and Canary Wharf and are comprised of four sites currently branded as Balls Brothers and two branded as Tank & Paddle. Stonegate previously acquired a portfolio of 15 bars from Novus in 2018. Today’s acquisition of an additional six premium assets will further consolidate Stonegate’s position as a leading high street, managed pub operator in the UK with a large degree of focus on London and the southeast. Stonegate plans to invest in the sites promptly post-acquisition. Stonegate has a proven track record of success in identifying, unlocking value and ultimately delivering higher returns from the pub and bar assets which it has acquired and has built a reputation for consistently achieving industry-leading returns on its investments. Examples include the acquisitions of Bramwell in 2014, Tattershall Castle Group in 2015, iNTERTAIN in 2016 and Sports Bar & Grill in 2017 – all of which continue to perform strongly. Most recently, the group acquired Be at One, a leading, specialist cocktail bar operator with 33 bars throughout the UK, in 2018. There is also the potential to deliver further post-acquisition synergy benefits by leveraging Stonegate’s economies of scale in the context of the enlarged business. Following the acquisition, Stonegate will comprise 772 operating venues, further consolidating the group’s position as a leading managed pub operator in town and city centre locations nationwide.” Simon Longbottom, chief executive of Stonegate, said: “These are two excellent acquisitions for Stonegate which play to our strengths both in terms of market positioning and geography. Fever Bars is a business we have watched with interest – and admired – for some time. It is a great cultural fit with our existing portfolio, complementing Stonegate’s businesses, as well as giving us a presence in some new locations. The additional portfolio of Nouvs sites being acquired comprise another tranche of high quality assets which will further establish our leading credentials in London. We are already seeing the benefit of leveraging Novus’ acknowledged expertise in pre-booked sales, following our acquisition of 15 Novus bars in July last year, and look forward to building on this further over the year ahead. We look forward to working with the Fever Bars team, as well as new colleagues who will be joining Stonegate from Novus, and welcoming them into the wider group.” Mark Shorting and Nigel Blair, founding directors of Fever Bars, added: “We have had a fantastic eleven years building Fever from one venue into a company of 32 sites. The key to Fever Bars’ success has been putting our people and customers first. We are so grateful to have had so many good people at all levels within the company, focused on customer experience and delivering superb entertainment. We believe Stonegate is the right company for our people and venues to flourish. We look forward to seeing the enlarged group maximise the future growth potential of the Fever family and its venues.” 

Leadership Summit open for bookings: Propel is launching the Leadership Summit, which will see a select group of the sector’s most experienced bosses share their expertise on leadership. The full-day event, in partnership with Elliotts, will take place on Tuesday, 12 February at One Moorgate Place and is open for bookings. Speakers will include Will Stratton-Morris, UK chief executive of Caffe Nero, who will talk about building high-performance teams. Alasdair Murdoch, chief executive of Burger King, speaks about the role of leadership in business turnarounds. Elliotts chief executive Ann Elliott will talk to Des Gunewardena, chief executive of D&D London, about the lessons of leadership he has picked up in his career in the sector. Duncan Garrood, chief executive of Ten Entertainment, will give his views on leadership and the customer experience, while Jo Fleet, managing director of Flat Iron, will talk about empowering people and trust and getting the team to “buy in” through clear communication and vision. Mark Jones, chief executive of Carluccio’s, will explain how the company is building the quality and skillsets of its general managers to lead the business out of decline. Simon Townsend, chief executive of Ei Group, will give his views on the challenges of leadership during a period of immense change and Zoe Bowley, managing director of PizzaExpress, will give her top ten tips on leadership. Meanwhile, Loungers founder Alex Reilley will talk about the adaptations involved in growing a business from one site to more than 100, celebrating success and the art of succession, while Ann Elliott will give her views on the power of mentoring to grow talent in organisations. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “With the industry facing such challenging times, effective leadership has never been more important. This is an unmissable opportunity to learn from high-profile leaders in our sector.” Prices are £295 plus VAT for Premium members, £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers. To book, email

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