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Fri 5th Feb 2021 - Update: Rooney Anand confirms £500m pub acquisition plan
Rooney Anand confirms £500m pub acquisition plan: One of the world’s biggest investment firms is backing a plan by former Greene King boss Rooney Anand to invest up to £500m on buying pub assets, the Daily Telegraph has reported. Los Angeles-based Oaktree, which has an investment portfolio worth £110bn, is providing the financial firepower behind Anand’s new investment vehicle RedCat Pub Company. Oaktree is injecting £200m into RedCat, which will look at buying either individual businesses or operators outright. It will target pubs in the south and east of England with a further £300m in debt funding expected to be raised. Anand told the Telegraph: “There is no set playbook. I am not trying to recreate Greene King. I see myself as someone who’s investing in a sector that has been oversold, where people have taken cover and written it off and have been too quick to say: ‘It’s not going to recover’. I’ve always been a strong believer in the great British pub. It has survived the Blitz, the Great Plague and the credit crunch – always bouncing back and taking its rightful place at the heart of the community. There will always be a market for a decent pub.”

Four in five nightclubs will collapse within a month, industry body warns: The UK nightclub scene is on the brink of devastation with 80% of venues unlikely to survive past the end of the month without government support, the industry has warned. A report released by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) have revealed the devastating impact of the pandemic on British nightclubs, which have been closed since March 2020. A survey of 100 clubs revealed that half of venues are in more than three months’ rent arrears, while roughly two-thirds had made 60% of their workforce redundant by the end of 2020. Just over 80% of clubs said they would not survive past February without further government support. The NTIA blamed the government for failing to provide adequate support, with 43% of the clubs surveyed saying they had received no financial support from the state. The trade body also complained of a lack of a clear timetable for reopening and proposed changes to planning laws that would allow landlords to convert clubs into housing. “We are on the cusp of losing a cultural institution, the government has ignored the sector and failed to recognise its economic and cultural value,” said NTIA chief executive Michael Kill. “The government needs to support nightclubs and late night venues with a robust financial package and which is tailored to support businesses that have been closed since March and a roadmap giving a clear indication of the timelines for re-opening against the backdrop of the vaccination rollout, to give hope to many who are overburdened with debt.” Some clubs, such as Fabric, Printworks and Columbo, which owns Jazz Cafe, Phonox and XOYO, last year received funding through the £1.57 billion cultural recovery fund. But other venues, including King’s Cross venue Egg, were excluded from the support. “The importance of nightlife is a pivotal part for all generations and the culture of the UK but the government is not giving enough to support our venues, brands and promoters,” said Egg owner Hans Hess. “So, Boris Johnson, come on do the right thing and show your commitment to help the nightlife industry.”

Exclusive Collection to unveil two new restaurant concepts: The Exclusive Collection is to unveil two new restaurant concepts this spring as it invests in its properties. The company is launching Hillfield Restaurant & Bar, which is an ode to Surrey produce, at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, and The Wellhouse, a more casual evening-only immersive dining experience focused on seasonal wood-fired cooking, at Lainston House in Winchester. The Hillfield Restaurant & Bar at Pennyhill Park will sit alongside the Michelin star restaurant, Latymer. The new all-day restaurant will offer a seasonal British brasserie and there will also be a daily “Surrey Grill” specials board, weekend brunches and Sunday roast platters. A dedicated cheese bar will also be on offer featuring a rotating selection of local artisanal cheese and predominately British varieties. In addition to barista coffee, the drinks menu will feature English aperitifs, Surrey spritzes, Hillfield house-made cordials, local beer and a wine list featuring English and European producers. Meanwhile, The Wellhouse will take inspiration from the hotel’s kitchen garden as well as the produce found in the county including meat, fish, dairy, wine and spirits. The Wellhouse will serve as a new destination using wood-fired cooking and home-grown produce.

Owner of Weston-super-Mare’s Grand Pier acquires former seafront aquarium for new coffee shop and restaurant concept: AGM Holdings, the owner of the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare, has completed the acquisition of the town’s former seafront aquarium with plans to transform the site into a new coffee shop and restaurant concept. Sitting 800 metres from the Grand Pier, the aquarium closed in March 2019 and has stood empty for almost two years. Following the acquisition, AGM Holdings plans to inject £1.5m into redeveloping the 15,000 square foot site, creating a coffee shop, bakery, restaurant, bar and sea-facing terrace. A retro-themed mini golf complex will also be part of the redevelopment project. AGM Holdings director Alex Demetriou said: “The building has been an iconic landmark on Weston’s seafront for the past 20 years, so we’re excited to be bringing this derelict former attraction back to life, continuing to support the town’s regeneration. The project is already making good progress and we’re hopeful work can be completed to coincide with the relaxation of the pandemic restrictions.”

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